Mayor answers to London
Question by Caroline Pidgeon
Over the last two and a half years, have you sat down with union leaders such as Gerry Doherty [General Secretary, Transport Salaried Staffs' Association] or had your promised beer with Bob Crow [General Secretary, National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT)] in order to fulfil the no strike deal that you promised to Londoners?
Answer by Boris Johnson (1st Term)
The sad reality is, Caroline, that the RMT has been almost continuously in dispute with us for one reason or another and I am not really willing to sit down and be friendly and be pointlessly convivial with people who are holding Londoners to ransom. If they will stop pointless strikes then I will be more than happy to sit down with them, but you cannot reward bad behaviour.
Caroline Pidgeon (AM): That is exactly what we were saying earlier this morning, Mr Mayor. Have you actually picked up the phone to them? This was one of your key manifesto pledges. Have you picked up the phone to the unions to try to talk to them about some kind of no strike deal?
Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): I have certainly had lots of conversations about a no strike deal, though not directly with --
Caroline Pidgeon (AM): With them. Not about it. Have you spoken to anyone?
Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): I have not spoken directly with union leaders but with plenty of people in Government. Let me say that I would appreciate your support in making these very good points, which you patently agree with, to Liberal Democrat members of the Coalition Government so that we can get the necessary statutory changes that I think that this country needs to ensure that we have a more sensible industrial relations legislative framework.
Caroline Pidgeon (AM): I am not talking about what is happening nationally. I am talking about holding you to account about what you promised to Londoners. Why have you not at least tried to talk to the union leaders to prevent these strikes which, are having such a detrimental effect on London? Isnt it actually a monumental failure of your leadership that you have failed to prevent these strikes which are causing such pain to Londoners?
Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): I think you are completely wrong, by the way. I think you are talking through the back of your neck if I may say so!
Caroline Pidgeon (AM): So it is wrong - you say your leadership has not failed at all when you have not spoken to the unions in two and a half years?
Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): No. We have a fantastic team of negotiators at TfL. It is not my purpose to second guess them or to undermine their role by engaging in talks with people who are determined, it seems to me, to precipitate a lot of completely unnecessary strikes and I will not reward bad behaviour and undermine TfL negotiators.