Bob Crow inspired strong feelings among both detractors and defenders. That was just on the political left.
In an era of union decline he and the RMT bucked a trend.
He dramatically increased the size and strength of his union, something no other union has been able to replicate outside of sweeping and often brutal mergers. Was this because of his radical hard left politics and matching rhetoric? Or was it that he simply turned and went out to bat for his members? Maybe it was a bit of both, but the latter answer certainly looms large over a trade union movement that would be well advised to learn some lessons from Crow’s RMT success.
The gauntlet thrown down by Bob Crow doesn’t just concern the trade union movement, but also a broader political class and in particular a Labour Party that desperately needs to reconnect with the principles of workers’ rights, workers’ political voice and workplace democracy.
Those firmly set within the left who didn’t care for him or his methods have something to ponder.
The Labour Party in particular needs to decide whose side it is on. Bob Crow got better deals for his members.
There is no excuse for apeing the right who portrayed him as the poster child of a dying trade union movement. His legacy reaches beyond the confines of his union. A lasting tribute to Bob would be : Join a trade union. Fight for your rights.
Tributes on the left to Bob Crow 1961- 2014