Tube strike: Bob Crow defends decision to take Brazil holiday as days of action loom

 

Bob Crow, the left-wing union leader whose London Underground members threaten to inflict chaos on London commuters, has launched a spirited defence of his decision to take a break in Brazil as the strike loomed.

Mr Crow, whose members employed by the Tube are due to walk out on a 48-hour strike on Tuesday evening, had been pictured in the Daily Mail relaxing in the sun on the Copacabana Beach and sipping from a coconut while negotiations to avert the strike in London were making no progress.

Two transport unions, the RMT and TSSA, oppose a plan to close booking offices on the Tube, to make way for commercial outlets such as Amazon and Waitrose, at a cost of about 800 jobs. Talks by the conciliation service Acas, aimed at averting a strike, ended yesterday without an agreement.

Mr Crow, who is General Secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers Union, vigorously defended his decision to take a £10,000 holiday, which had been booked months in advance, saying that it would have made no difference to the dispute if he had been in London.

 

He accused London’s Mayor, Boris Johnson, of refusing to meet union leaders. He also told a press conference at the TUC’s London headquarters that he had spotted the holiday advertised in a copy of the Daily Mail which was being given away free in his gym.

Tube strike map: Which lines are still running?  

“They’re the ones that were advertising it, so they’re saying to people ‘go on holiday’ but when you go on holiday, you shouldn’t go on it. So why are they advertising it in the first place?” he asked.

“I’d love to see what the bill was to send a guy out to Rio: it must have cost more money than my holiday did. One bloke there, he looked like one of those old Russian spies, sitting there behind a paper. My job is to defend working people.”

Tube strikes February 2014: Boris Johnson says union boss Bob Crow is holding London to ransom  

His comments came as the Mayor of London moved to capitalise on the controversy. “After I offered to sit down with Bob Crow if he called off the strikes I received an email, presumably sent from his Brazilian beach hideaway, that said he’d be in touch today,” Boris Johnson said.

“Well Bob, you haven’t rung. That suggests, sadly, that Bob Crow is determined to strike, even though a massive 70 per cent of his own members don’t even back him. Instead of trying to bolster sagging union membership, Bob should call off the strikes, engage with TfL’s consultation and with me. Instead he seems hell bent on attempting to disrupt the lives of hard-working Londoners through strike action that is utterly, utterly pointless.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk