Boris Johnson And Bob Crow In On-Air Tube Row
Boris Johnson and union leader Bob Crow traded bitter on-air blows over the impending Tube strike during the London mayor's radio phone-in.
Mr Crow had attempted to stage manage a confrontation with Mr Johnson by marching to City Hall at 9.30am, accusing him of refusing to meet the unions.
However, in a bizarre series of events, when the mayor failed to make himself available, Mr Crow called him on his weekly LBC radio programme, as Bob from Woodford Green, to challenge him.
The two men, who have not spoken to each other in a "few years", according to Mr Johnson, proceeded to spend their time arguing over who was holding a gun to whose head.
Mr Johnson told the rail union boss: "What I cannot do is sit down and negotiate with you when you are putting a gun to our head."
But Mr Crow said the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) and the Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) could not negotiate "while you've put a gun to our heads ... you served the notice on our unions to say these jobs are going".
London Underground workers are striking after the mayor announced plans to close all ticket offices with the loss of 750 jobs - a move Mr Johnson says will save £50m.
The first of two 48-hours stoppages began at 9.30pm on Tuesday with the second on February 11.
Speaking on his mobile from outside City Hall, Mr Crow, who was pictured at the weekend enjoying a holiday on Copacabana beach in Brazil with his girlfriend, said: "We are not here to score points - all we want is an opportunity to negotiate about the Tube.
"We are asking you to listen to our point of view. We would love to call the strike off."
Mr Johnson replied: "Of course there are job losses involved but there are no compulsory redundancies.
"We have already had more than 1,000 people showing an interest in voluntary redundancy.
"Call off this pointless strike which will do nothing other than cost your members their wages."
Mr Crow said later it was clear the mayor was still refusing to meet unions.
Following the heated exchange, David Cameron tweeted: "Bob Crow's Tube strike is shameful, bringing misery to millions of Londoners. Ed Miliband should condemn it now: no 'ifs' and no 'buts'."
Labour's shadow transport secretary Mary Creagh said: "Nobody wants strikes and both sides should now get back around the negotiating table and sort this out as a matter of urgency.
"It is disappointing that the mayor and Transport for London have not reached a resolution with the unions ahead of this strike."
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