Owner Jones has sparked a furious backlash after mounting a defence of London underground workers from the Rail, Maritime and Transport union [RMT] union planning for tube strikes. Union bosses will decide next week when to call rail strikes after workers overwhelmingly backed industrial action over jobs, pay and conditions. Mr Jones was invited to defend the strike action on Jeremy Vine which in turn sparked a row over the current pay packets offered to London tube drivers.
Mr Jones to Jeremy Vine on 5: “Well we’re now discussing on national television the fact that these underground stations allegedly have a bullying manager who presides over workplace environments soo toxic that he’s driving huge numbers of workers to lose a day’s pay, because of how awful and serious the conditions are at work.
“Nobody goes on strike for a laugh. I’m sorry, I know there’s this idea of popularised that striking is this thing done on a whim, you lose a day’s pay it is extremely, therefore inconvenient for the worker.
“The fact is, if we don’t want them to go on strike, then we should deal with the fact that there was management operating who has driven people to such desperation that they’re willing to lose a day’s pay in order to do something about it.”
Politics blog Guido Fawkes posted a response to Mr Jones on Twitter pointing to the salaries earned by London underground train drivers.
Guido wrote: “The majority of London Underground train drivers, make £70,000-£80,000.
“The low paid London commuters who rely on public transport that they are inconveniencing can’t work because of the strikers.”
On Jeremy Vine, Mr Jones went on to address the salaries paid out to Tube drivers and looked to link the ongoing rail dispute to wider problems of low pay in Britain.
He told the programme: “Absolutely right, they are well paid that’s not an advert for not striking, that’s an advert for striking.
“And because the unions were smashed, we don’t have trade unions strong enough in much of the economy, to be able to get a fair slice of the pie because the wealth created by the workers, to the workers themselves.”
Members of the RMT at Network Rail and 13 train operators overwhelmingly backed walkouts, threatening the biggest strike in the industry since it was privatised in the mid-1990s.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said the union’s executive will meet to discuss a timetable for industrial action.
The union will have to give two weeks’ notice of strikes, which could start in mid-June.