Shelagh Fogarty is Leading Britain's Conversation.
24 August 2015, 11:52
James O'Brien gave a passionate defence of the London Underground staff who are striking this week.
London is set for four days of travel disruption as workers stage two 24-hour tube strikes, starting tomorrow evening.
Frustrated Londoners hit out at the strikers, complaining they already get paid better than 90% of the UK population. But James, returning to LBC from a week's holiday, knocked back those arguments in typically ruthless fashion.
With the passion clear in his voice, he said: "I'm staring at this story, waiting for it to make sense to me in a way that's doesn't sound the most lily-livered, mealy-mouthed, mean-spirited envy imaginable.
"Here is a tube driver. He's on £50,000 a year. He doesn't want to work nights. If he's going to work nights, you've got to make it worth his while. Not financially, but with promises that he won't be shoe-horned or co-erced or forced into working patterns that are dangerous.
"Unfortunately, the people that make those decisions are the same people that said they wouldn't close ticket offices. The people promising that no one is going to have their working conditions inflicted upon them are the same people who promised they wouldn't shut fire stations.
"The same people that have broken promise after promise after promise are being looked at by the tube workers and told 'We don't really trust you. We want it in writing and we want it formal, because every other promise you've made, Mr Johnson, you've broken'.
"And you sit there, on less than £50,000 per year and somehow feel affronted that these men and women have the right to defend themselves."
Discussing an un-named newspaper columnist, James added: "You get some, I don’t know, newspaper columnist on £250,000 a year telling you that tube drivers don’t deserve the right to defend their family life because they earn less than nurses."