RMT Union leader Bob Crow dies

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    Thank you for reading our live page on reaction to the news that RMT Union general secretary Bob Crow has died at the age of 52.

    Bob Crow
    BBC London News 17:55:

    Coming up on BBC London News at 18:30, transport correspondent Tom Edwards takes a look at what drove union boss Bob Crow.

    And transport commentator Christian Wolmar - who's also seeking to be Labour's candidate for the next mayoral elections - will be in the studio to give his reaction.

    'Stand up and fight' 17:48:

    A trade union expert has said that the person who takes over Mr Crow's position as general secretary of the RMT Union might be quite similar to him, because of what he achieved as leader.

    "I think they (the RMT) will think - and probably quite right - is that what you need with London Underground is someone who is going to stand up and fight on behalf of the members," said Steve Blunt, from Clyde & Co law firm.

    'I'm not hated' 17:38:

    "Well, number one, if anybody says it is nice to be known as hated, they're lying," Bob Crow said in response when a Guardian interviewer in 2009 asked him what it was like to be the most hated man in London following a Tube strike.

    He added: "But I'm not hated. They're lying. I'm not the most hated. I tell you what, I've been travelling around on the trains, and I don't get no aggro at all."

    Childhood fight 17:30:

    Mr Lowe, who has known Mr Crow for 44 years, recounts a childhood incident where his friend, who was 13 at the time, was injured.

    "We were playing football on a rugby pitch when things got boisterous with some other players who wanted to fight. They ran him over.

    "Straight away Bobby said he was fine but we took him to the hospital. When he lifted up his shirt he had a tyre mark on his ribs but he never moaned once.

    "I'll always remember that."

    Sports fan 17:21:

    Mr Crow was a big sports fan - as proved by the mementos in his office, pictured here in 2009.

    Bob Crow in his office
    Perfect Porridge rip-off 17:14:

    Mr Crow's friend since childhood, Johnny Lowe, said away from the union, Bob - or Bobby as friends called him - would always talk about the old days and was one of the "funniest men I had the privilege to know".

    "His laugh was infectious. His humour was visual - he would think someone slipping on a banana skin was hilarious."

    Mr Lowe added: "He loved Ronnie Barker. He could do a perfect rip off of Norman Stanley Fletcher (main character in the sitcom Porridge) and he could quote episodes at you."

    Union's tribute 17:08:

    Peter Pinkney, RMT national president, said: "Bob's death leaves a massive gap in the lives of everyone that knew him.

    RMT National President Peter Pinkney

    "It represents a huge loss in the trade union and labour movement, both in this country and internationally."

    Bob Crow in his own words 17:00:

    "At the end of the day, as general secretary of a union, you've got to be larger than life. You don't want to mooch around in a grey suit and eat a sandwich every lunchtime. You want someone with a bit of a spark about him" - as told to BBC Radio 4's PM programme, his last interview.

    Read more of his quotes.

    Union's respect 16:52:

    A staff member at the TSSA union office closes the reception in respect of Mr Crow.

    Union office closed

    The two unions were joined over their battle to prevent Tube ticket offices from closing.

    'Giant figure' 16:44:

    Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont said: "Bob would take on anyone when he thought it was in the interests of working men and women and the confidence and certainty in which he made his arguments had to be admired.

    "He had become a giant figure in the trade union movement and will be sadly missed by the many trade union members who held him in high esteem."

    Professional life 16:38:

    Mr Crow took part in strike action early on in his professional life.

    Bob Crow in 2004

    In 1980, he was part of a nationwide day of action ordered by the TUC, and the next strike he joined was on the Tube - a day after returning from his honeymoon in 1982.

    After that he took part in, or helped organise, official and unofficial strikes against London Underground and was clear about the need to take action to improve pay and conditions.

    'Formidable and tireless' 16:30:

    Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said: "Bob Crow was a formidable and tireless champion for the workers and causes that he represented. His loss will be felt, not just by the RMT, but by all trade unionists, who have lost a fearless and effective campaigner."

    Emotional scenes 16:24:

    People have been gathering outside the RMT offices to mourn Mr Crow, who died in the early hours.

    Mourners gather outside RMT offices
    Millwall tribute 16:17:

    Millwall Football Club are to include this tribute to Bob Crow in their programme on Saturday for the match against Charlton.

    "Millwall Football Club would like to extend our condolences to the family of Bob Crow who passed away on Monday night at the age of 52.

    "Born in Shadwell, Bob was general secretary of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers since 2002 and a lifelong Lions fan."

    'Outstanding' 16:09:

    TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "This is shocking news. Bob was an outstanding trade unionist, who tirelessly fought for his members, his industry and the wider trade union movement."

    'Dedicated to the railways' 16:02:

    Tim O'Toole, chief executive of FirstGroup and former London Underground managing director, said: "I worked with Bob both during my time at London Underground and here at FirstGroup.

    "He was a tireless and powerful advocate for his members and was dedicated to the railways and public transport."

    The Bob Crow I knew 15:47: Via Blog Tom Edwards Transport correspondent, London

    I interviewed Bob Crow many times and he wasn't actually at all like his public image. Often he'd mention the weather or the football before the recording.

    He was always polite and without fail he answered the contentious question - and there were many of those contentious questions.

    In quotes 15:36:

    "My body never burns, because I'm a Greek god." Here is a collection of some of Bob Crow's most memorable quotes.

    Prime minister's condolences 15:23:

    The prime minister's official spokesman said: "The prime minister expresses his sincere condolences to Mr Crow's family and friends."

    'Warm and witty' 15:11:

    Lesley Mercer of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, said: "Bob stood shoulder-to-shoulder with CSP members in their campaign against changes to NHS pensions and was a passionate supporter of the health service.

    "On a personal level, he was warm, witty and very good company, and it was upsetting for those of us around him to see the constant vilification he faced when standing up for what he believed in."

    Ultimate firebrand 14:55:

    Why was Bob Crow the one union leader everyone has heard of? BBC Magazine's Jon Kelly finds out.

    Tributes 14:40:

    Flowers have been left outside the RMT's head office in tribute to its general secretary Bob Crow who died in the early hours of this morning.

    Crow's philosophy 14:31:

    This quote from Mr Crow sums up his philosophy, says BBC reporter Jon Kelly.

    "This trade union fights for the right of our members to enjoy the finer things in life. Why should it just be the bankers, politicians and the idle rich who get all the best things?

    Bob Crow

    "As a militant trade union we demand a standard of living for our members that enables them to share in the fine wines and fine times that the likes of David Cameron and his Old Etonian mates take for granted."

    Bob and Boris 14:19:

    The mayor's office has said Boris Johnson and Bob Crow only met face-to-face once on Radio 4's Any Questions programme on 26 March 2011.

    Bob Crow and Boris Johnson

    A few days later, the two were due to be panellists on BBC One's Question Time programme, however Mr Crow was dropped from the show at short notice. Otherwise the only other time the two had spoken was just before this year's Tube strike.

    'Glue that kept them together' 14:06: Tom Edwards Transport correspondent, London

    I've been at the RMT Union offices today and they are absolutely devastated, They said he was a giant of a man, with a great stature over the union.

    Bob Crow was the general secretary behind the RMT's executive - in effect they told him what to do but I've been told he was the glue that kept them all together.

    'Cheeky chappie' 13:58:

    Richard Crow, who was three years older than Bob, added: "He would be a cheeky chappie Cockney kid. He was a lovely kid to grow up with.

    Bob Crow Bob Crow in 1992

    "I can't say anything bad about him as far as the person goes.

    "Politically we were completely different, but growing up he was a typical London scallywag."

    Brother's tribute 13:50:

    Mr Crow's brother Richard said he heard about his death at 07:00.

    "I presume some time in the night he had some problems. We're really trying to find out exactly what happened," he told Sky News.

    He added: "People moaned that he lived in a council house, that he never drove a car - he lived a life of the average guy in the street and that's a rare thing these days.

    "When people have a high office in life they fall for the big trappings of the flash cars and the big hotels and big houses. But Bob wasn't like that, he was a genuine person of the people."

    'At peak of his power' 13:42:

    Jonathan Fryer of London Liberal Democrats told BBC London 94.9: "It's very shocking. Bob Crow was in his early 50s and it's always tragic when someone dies at the peak of their power."

    He said he had been at loggerheads with him in the past, including recently when Tube stoppages "made life very difficult for several million commuters".

    "But I respected that he was resolute in his support for the union," he added.

    On air 13:33:

    Former London Mayor Ken Livingstone is live on BBC London News on BBC One giving his reaction to Mr Crow's death, while reporter Warren Nettleford looks back at his career.

    In the papers 13:26:

    Here's how some of the national papers are reporting Bob Crow's death: The Guardian, The Daily Mail, The Independent.

    Election campaign 13:17:

    Mr Crow had been campaigning for the No2EU political party in May's European elections, where he argued that workers were suffering because of policies from Europe.

    Weather watcher 13:05:

    Apart from his obsession with Millwall - he had been watching the team since his father took him to the ground as a youngster - Mr Crow had a surprising interest outside his job.

    "I'm really interested in the weather. I spend ages looking at weather maps and graphs. I have a barometer in the house and if I could have been anything else other than a union official I would have been a footballer - or a weatherman."

    'A shock' 12:56:

    Darren Johnson, Green Party member on the London Assembly, tweets: "A shock about Bob Crow. No-one can ever say he was not effective in representing his members."

    'Done rather well' 12:44: BBC News Channel

    Kevin Maguire, of The Mirror, tells BBC News: "When Bob would go around streets or you'd see him on trains, people actually gave him a warm reception.

    "They liked the fact that he stood up, said what he thought, in an era of political 'but and'. And they recognised - even when they were inconvenienced by a strike - that he'd actually done rather well for his members.

    "And a lot of people at work were thinking, 'Well why isn't somebody standing up for me?'"

    White board tribute 12:40:

    Covent Garden Tube station has its own tribute for Bob Crow:

    White board tribute
    'Strong leader' 12:37:

    Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: "Bob's passing is very sad news and the thoughts of firefighters will be with his family.

    "Bob was a good friend to me personally and to the Fire Brigades Union as a whole. He was a strong leader for the labour movement and he'll be sorely missed by those who knew him."

    Video: Boris on Bob 12:31:

    Despite being political adversaries London Mayor Boris Johnson has described Bob Crow as a man who fought tirelessly for members and worked hard for London Underground.

    Boris Johnson
    In pictures 12:26:

    Take a look back at his union life with this image gallery.

    Bob Crow in his office, London, 2009
    'Abrasive style' 12:21:

    Labour MP Stephen Pound, who sits on the RMT parliamentary group, said he was "absolutely stunned" by the news. He had an incredibly abrasive style but he cared far more for London transport than a lot of people gave him credit for.

    Bob Crow

    "He could be hard work but true believers often are."

    Last BBC interview 12:18: Radio 4
    12:15: BBC News Channel

    Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said he sent his sincere sympathies to Bob Crow's family.

    "He was always very straight in his dealings and the truth was we may have disagreed on certain aspects on what he would have liked to have seen happen to the railway," he said.

    "But I think both of us wanted to see the benefits of the railways and recognise the important role they can play."

    Total shock 12:05:

    BBC London's transport correspondent Tom Edwards tweets: RMT members & reps in total shock at news

    Obituary 12:02:

    BBC Politics' Justin Parkinson looks back at Bob Crow's life, from his early years in east London to the recent controversy over his holiday to Brazil which he defended by saying: "What do you want me to do? Sit under a tree and read Karl Marx every day?"

    Bob Crow
    'Legacy' 11:57: BBC News Channel

    Mr Johnson added: "He was a dyed-in-the-wool socialist, far out to the left by many modern standards.

    "You've got to hand it to Bob Crow that his legacy will be that he played a massive part in improving London Underground."

    Crow 'misunderstood' 11:54: BBC News Channel

    The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: "He was slightly misunderstood by the wider public.

    "People construed him as a left wing ogre figure but if anything I would say he was more moderate than some of the characters in the RMT leadership.

    Bob Crow

    "Bob was the guy to go to when there was a deal to be done. In the end we would have got to a sensible position on the recent proposal to modernise ticket offices."

    Reaction 11:52:

    On Twitter, Mark Griffin writes: "Maybe now we can return to consensual union relations with LU."

    Derek McMillan tweets: "Bob Crow had more integrity than all the politicians put together. This is a sad day."

    Tributes and reaction 11:48:

    BBC News has put together tributes and reaction to Bob Crow's death.

    Bob Crow
    Early years 11:44:

    Born in east London, Crow moved to Essex as a toddler and attended the same secondary modern school as Spurs soccer star Jimmy Greaves.

    He left school at the age of 16 and worked on the railways for the rest of his life.

    His first job was on London Underground as an apprentice track worker, although he soon became involved in union activity, becoming a local representative for the then National Union of Railwaymen at the age of 20.

    Workers react 11:42:

    A Tube worker at Oxford Circus told BBC London 94.9: "It's really sad. It's really hard to find someone who will stand up for staff in this day and age. He stands out as some sort of a leader."

    'Major figure' 11:34:

    Labour leader Ed Miliband said: "Bob Crow was a major figure in the labour movement and was loved and deeply respected by his members.

    Ed Miliband

    "I didn't always agree with him politically but I always respected his tireless commitment to fighting for the men and women in his union.

    "He did what he was elected to do, was not afraid of controversy and was always out supporting his members across the country."

    Increased membership 11:31:

    Under Mr Crow's leadership, membership of the RMT increased by more than 20,000 to 80,000, embracing workers ranging from seafarers and rail staff to cleaners.

    He spoke at rallies and meetings most weekends, and was always in demand to support campaigns.

    11:28: Chris Mason Political correspondent, BBC News

    I understand Bob Crow was due at a TUC Executive away day in Esher in Surrey yesterday but was unable to attend because he was feeling unwell. He was though expected, I'm told, to be there today.

    On hearing the news of his death, the gathering in Surrey was immediately wound up and the TUC General Secretary, Frances O'Grady, is returning to London so she can pay tribute to Mr Crow.

    Profile 11:25:

    In 2010, Mary Ann Sieghart profiled Mr Crow for BBC Radio 4. Listen again on the iPlayer.

    Bob Crow
    'Stunning bloke' 11:23: BBC News Channel

    Paul Kenny, the general secretary of the GMB Union, told the BBC News Channel that Bob Crow was passionate of advancing the causes of working people.

    "Maybe some people didn't like him or the way he did things but they admired the fact he got them done," he said.

    "He was a stunning bloke and was an incredibly a unique character and I am grateful for my time with him."

    11:20: via Facebook

    On the BBC London Facebook page, people have been reacting to Mr Crow's death.

    Jasmine Kinton wrote that he was the "type of man you would've wanted fighting your corner" while Gary Smith says he was "good for workers' rights".

    'Indestructible' 11:17:

    Writing in the Telegraph, Dan Hodges says: "He was a London landmark. The trademark cap. The signature scowl, always hammed up for effect.

    "He seemed immoveable. Indestructible."

    'Finest trade union leaders' 11:14:

    John McDonnell, Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington told BBC London 94.9: "We are all absolutely devastated. He exercised on a regular basis. There was no indication of ill health.

    John McDonnell

    "He was one of the finest trade union leaders of his generation."

    11:12: BBC News Channel

    The BBC News Channel's chief political correspondent Norman Smith said he "understands" that Bob Crow died from a heart attack.

    'Unexpected news' 11:07:

    Transport for London ‏tweets: Sir Peter Hendy: Shocked by this terribly sad & unexpected news. Our thoughts are with Bob Crow's family, friends & all those he represented

    Heart attack 11:02:

    Bob Crow died at Whipps Cross Hospital in Leytonstone after suffering an aneurysm and a massive heart attack, reports the Evening Standard.


    BBC London's transport correspondent Tom Edwards tweets: Small notice outside @RMTunion

    RMT Union sign
    ASLEF tribute 10:50: BBC News Channel

    Speaking on the BBC News Channel, Mick Whelan, the General Secretary of the train drivers' union ASLEF, said there would "never be another Bob Crow."

    "Anyone who was ever downtrodden or hurt or whose life needed improvement ... he stood as a beacon and a point of contact for those to say you are not forgotten," Mr Whelan said.

    'A sad day' 10:45:

    Mr Johnson added: "Bob fought tirelessly for his beliefs and for his members.

    Bob Crow and Boris Johnson

    "There can be absolutely no doubt that he played a big part in the success of the Tube, and he shared my goal to make transport in London an even greater success. It's a sad day."

    Boris Johnson pays tribute 10:42:

    In a statement, London Mayor Boris Johnson said: "I'm shocked. Bob Crow was a fighter and a man of character.

    "Whatever our political differences, and there were many, this is tragic news."

    Last interview 10:39:

    Talking to Becky Milligan on Radio 4 yesterday Bob Crow said: "Every single person down my road is on benefits. I'm the only one paying rent. Who's the mug?"

    Farage tribute 10:36:

    Nigel Farage ‏tweets: Sad at the death of Bob Crow. I liked him and he also realised working class people were having their chances damaged by the EU.


    The union boss was only in the news yesterday when he said MPs should be paid more so that they did not have to "scramble around the place".

    He said MPs should be "paid adequately" so they could have "decent accommodation" and those without private income were not deterred from public service.


    Former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone said said: "I assumed he would be at my funeral not me at his."

    He told Sky News: "He fought really hard for his members. The only working-class people who still have well-paid jobs in London are his members. With the passage of time people will come to see that people like Bob Crow did a very good job."


    Mr Crow was elected general secretary of the RMT in 2002 following the death of former leader Jimmy Knapp.

    Bob Crow dies 10:23:

    The 52-year-old was instrumental in the recent Tube strikes in London.

    Bob Crow

    London FBU tweets: Bob Crow has died, aged 52. Absolutely devastating news. The thoughts of London FBU are with Bob's family and all our comrades in the RMT.

    Bob Crow dies 10:19: Nick Robinson Political editor

    Bob Crow was, some argue, the most successful union leader in terms of securing jobs & pay for his members.

    Bob Crow dies 10:14:

    On its website the union said: "It is with the deepest regret that RMT has to confirm that our General Secretary Bob Crow sadly passed away in the early hours of this morning.

    "The union's offices will be closed for the rest of the day and the union will make further announcements in due course."

    Bob Crow dies

    Rail, Maritime and Transport union leader Bob Crow has died, sources have told the Press Association.

    Charlton sack manager 10:00: Ben Smith BBC Sport

    Charlton will name their new manager swiftly. The plan is to have him in place for the game against Huddersfield tomorrow night.

    Cole back on the X Factor 09:51:

    Cheryl Cole has confirmed she is to rejoin the X Factor, along with Simon Cowell, for the show's 12th series.

    Cheryl Cole confirms she is to rejoin the X Factor in a picture on Instagram

    She announced her return on Instagram, saying: "Guess what? I'm back." The singer is expected to hold a press conference in London on Thursday morning.

    Maker Faire in Olympic Park 09:40:

    The first flagship event for makers outside of America is to take place at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in summer 2015.

    The Maker Faire event will bring together tech enthusiasts, science clubs, authors, engineers and commercial exhibitors to show their inventions.

    Charlton sack manager 09:29:

    BBC London Sport tweets: Charlton fans give us your thoughts on the departure of Chris Powell. Right decision? Who would you like to see at the helm? #CAFC #Addicks

    Sewage on tracks 09:18: Tom Edwards Transport correspondent, London

    A quarter of all train toilets empty onto tracks, figures from the RMT union show. It is calling for train operators to act however the government has confirmed there is no statutory protection for track workers or passengers from these discharges.

    Read my report on how train companies are dumping raw sewage on tracks.

    BBC London 94.9 09:08:

    Harriet Scott is sitting in for Vanessa Feltz today on BBC London 94.9. On the show, she's talking about free school meals for infant school pupils after the £18bn scheme was blasted for being unworkable.

    Get in touch by calling 020 7224 2000 or text 81333, starting your message with the word London.

    Video: Joining the circus 09:00:

    London venue Circus Space has been officially recognised as the UK centre of excellence by the government and is being renamed the National Centre for Circus Arts.

    Circus rope act

    A registered charity is the only place in Britain where students can earn a degree in circus and the organisation is aiming to bring circus into the mainstream.

    Charlton sack manager 08:49:

    Charlton have sacked manager Chris Powell as manager, Ben Smith at BBC Sport reports.

    The manager had been in talks with new owner Roland Duchatelet over a contract extension, but the men have not seen eye-to-eye on a number of key issues in recent weeks.

    Spurs to appeal red card 08:38:

    Tottenham will appeal against Younes Kaboul's red card in their 4-0 Premier League defeat by Chelsea on Saturday.

    Younes Kaboul

    The defender was sent off for a collision with Blues striker Samuel Eto'o to concede a penalty just before the hour mark.

    Chiltern Railways disruption 08:28: Louise Pepper Journalist, BBC London

    On the trains, there is some disruption on Chiltern Railway arriving in Marylebone -due to a broken down train at Princes Risborough.

    For the latest travel updates visit the BBC London travel pages.

    Hospital closure power 08:18:

    MPs are set to debate a controversial measure which would give the Health Secretary the power to impose the closure of local hospital services.

    Demonstrators at the Royal Courts of Justice

    The clause, which would apply to England, is the government's response to a court ruling last year which said ministers acted illegally in proposing a downgrading services at Lewisham hospital.

    Traffic light problems 08:11: Louise Pepper Journalist, BBC London

    On the roads, there are issues with some traffic lights this morning as some are on local control which means they are not in sync with each other.

    • the traffic lights are out of sync on the A501 at York Gate causing delays back to Euston and the Westway
    • the traffic is slow morning on Putney High Street as the traffic lights are also out of sync

    For the latest travel updates follow @BBCTravelAlert .

    Grey and chilly start 08:03: Kate Kinsella BBC Weather, London

    The morning will start off rather grey across the capital, with cloud and a north easterly breeze which will make it feel rather chilly.

    As the day progresses we may start to see some brightness as the cloud thins and breaks. Maximum temperature 14C (57F).

    08:00: Rebecca Cafe BBC News

    I'll be guiding you through BBC Local Live, bringing you the latest news, travel, weather and sport from across the capital.

    Get in touch with your comments and photos by emailing locallive@bbc.co.uk. or tweeting @BBCLondonNews.


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