He's always got a say on something. He's hated by commuters, but loved by the unions. Yes, Bob Crow - one of the biggest voices in the UK's fierce trade union movement. I met him last year for a surprisingly smooth interview with the tough personality. He is this weeks Friend for Friday.
Since his appointment as General Secretary of the Rail and Maritime Union (RMT) in 2002, Bob Crow has seen his union’s numbers increase by a third to more than 80,000 members currently. From organising strikes on the Underground, to his beliefs in Communism and Socialism - we chatted to him about his role as secretary and how he felt as a panellist on the recent edition of Any Questions?
It is not your first time on Any Questions is it Bob?
No, it is not. I’ve actually appeared as a panellist three times before my fourth appearance tonight. I’ve also appeared on Question Time three times too.
And do you enjoy your appearances?
Oh yes! Thoroughly, I love the interaction between the audience and the panel. A good old-fashioned debate is brilliant on this programme, and tonight was no exception. The audience were fantastic - lots of people make it brilliant, and you love the cheers, and boos. I think tonight was one of my favourites!
You are certainly a man of staunch views, and you made that clear tonight. Do you agree?
Well, I’m honest. You have to be in this game. I’m happy to be a minority. Sometimes my views do not agree with the audience, but as tonight they did meet with cheers and applause (we can confirm that he was the biggest crowd pleaser). All I will say is that I respect any view, so long as it is not a racist view.
The media describe you as a communist/ socialist. Is this correct?
Yes, it is. I believe in Socialism, I believe in decent life for all and opportunities for all. We should respect other people, whatever our economic or social background - something our society is currently not doing.
Since your appointment as General Secretary for the Rail and Maritime Union in 2002, union members have increased from 57,000 to over 80,000. What would you suggest has pleased the public the most about your appointment?
I guess it is my beliefs and aims for the union.
Well, the main aim is job security. All members of the union should have security in their jobs, and that is my number one aim. Decent pay and the security of a pension are also key to my beliefs.
With the ongoing National Union of Students Crisis, and what with the past furore surrounding the RMT Underground strikes this year, would you argue that these strikes seem to be doing more harm than good?
No, not at all. The reason we have these strikes is because of the injustices of the workers. The big bosses take all the profit whilst the worker does all the work. It has happened for decades, if not centuries. By enforcing strike action, the union represents all its workers, which in turn makes their life better. The only way is forward - whether that means strike action or not!
Interviewed by Kieran Watkins
Picture Courtesy of http://postrecession.wordpress.com/