James O'Brien clashes with caller over scrapping train guards

17 December 2019, 14:47 | Updated: 17 December 2019, 15:08

James O'Brien clashed with a caller who thinks unions shouldn't get involved in the dispute of scrapping guards on trains.

"It's an issue between the passengers and the train companies. It's not for the trade unions to get involved."

James asked what would happen if he wanted to get on a train with a guard yet the train companies have got rid of guards - who would he go to?

After Peter avoided the question James pressed him repeatedly.

"The same as you do in every other part of life when someone isn't specifically there to look after your interests," he said eventually.

Peter continued that it "quite clear people don't want to pay for the level of service you're asking for."

Hundreds of thousands of passengers face misery in the Christmas period
Hundreds of thousands of passengers face misery in the Christmas period. Picture: PA Images

"How much money did Richard Branson make out of running trains?" James asked the caller.

"You're telling me we can't afford a guard? We can't afford guards because Richard Branson needs a new yacht! He needs a new island!"

The caller insisted that there are no train guards in London and Londoners survive.

James called the caller attitude "depressing" because his view was "I've been punched in the face so they should be punched in the face as well."

The RMT union announced a 27-day strike throughout December, affecting passengers on South Western Rail trains, after they failed to reach an agreement with the operator over driver-only trains.

New trains allow driver-only control which means the driver can operate the doors, but unions want to ensure guards keep a safety-critical role.