Robert Crow, RMT General Secretary (1961 – 2014)


It is with great sadness that London Reconnections has learned of the death of Robert “Bob” Crow, who passed away in the early hours of this morning.

From the moment he started his first job on the railways at 16 until his tragic death at only 52 years of age, Bob was a tireless servant of the railways themselves and of the men and women who worked on them.

His influence on the recent history of London transport is near impossible to overstate. As General Secretary of the RMT he consistently – and successfully – sought to defend the interests of the people he represented. The Guardian, in their obituary, have described Crow as a “confrontational leader” and this is an epithet he would almost certainly have happily accepted. That he was greatly respected on both sides of the management/union relationship within London and beyond speaks volumes about his ability and qualities.

Crow’s death has robbed the RMT and its members of an unflinching leader. It has robbed us all of a man who was never afraid to ask questions, sometimes difficult and uncomfortable, about where our railways are now, and where they are going – both in the capital and beyond.

Whatever the answers to those questions are, it is always important that those questions are asked.

London is a lesser place without him.

Written by John Bull
John Bull is the Editor of London Reconnections. A transport journalist and historian, his writing often focuses on the political or strategic challenges facing London's transport network and beyond.