'You're jealous': James O'Brien dissects caller's opposition to striking workers

27 July 2022, 12:06

By Seán Hickey

This caller, who has been the victim of unfair working practices, has his vehement opposition to unions and workers taking industrial action expertly picked apart.

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On Wednesday the RMT staged a walkout in protest over pay and conditions.The 24 hour strike action has caused disruption to countless British commuters, with the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps telling LBC that the UK must introduce measures to prevent unions "holding us back".

The union turned down an 8% pay rise, with RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch stating that Network Rail's offer "doesn't come close" to meeting the union's demands.

James O'Brien spoke to Paul in Bath about the action. The caller told LBC listeners that he was in the armed forces for eight to 10 years, but "was made redundant without any pay" because he was on what was in effect a zero-hour contract.

Read more: 'Do you want him evicted?': Mick Lynch defends RMT deputy living in council flat on £78k

"I don't really buy the argument that you can't just change someone's terms and conditions", he told James, but James pointed out he "didn't realise what the terms and conditions were" when he signed his contract, whereas striking workers do.

James cornered the caller: "Are you suggesting that because that happened to you, you're in favour of it happening to other people?"

Read more: RMT boss accused of blocking 8% deal says it ‘doesn’t come close’ as strikes cripple UK

Read more: New map reveals full extent of rail misery as union workers prepare to strike

The caller denied the claim, arguing that "things do change and you do have to sit down at the table and negotiate and compromise." James countered by pointing out that it is in fact the government refusing to sit down with unions.

Read more: RMT union announce another Tube strike with workers set to walkout on August 19

Paul diverted the conversation: "In the private sector, I've not had a pay rise for eight years." James stopped him before he built up steam.

'You may not realise it but you are very much...you're jealous.'

'You're literally telling me you got shafted by your employer in the past, so you don't see why these employees should have any right of recourse with their employer."

The caller once again rejected James' suggestion, saying that "their [rail workers'] union are wielding too much power."

James flipped the argument, asking the caller: "If they can't go on strike, what can they do to stop them being treated like you were as a young man?"

Read more: Rail strikes 'could last for months' if other side doesn't back down, Mick Lynch warns

"Because you weren't looked after when you felt you should have been, you've turned into a person who doesn't think other people should be looked after either."

"What would have been the most effective weapon in your arsenal?"

Paul accepted that it "would have been to lay down our weapons and not do what we were signed up to do."

"Your opposition to industrial action is built upon envy because you don't have recourse to those sorts of actions," James stated, concluding "the mystery of today's phone in is why you don't think you deserve them."

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