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UPDATE: Windsor Castle wardens vote to take industrial action over pay

UPDATE: Windsor Castle wardens vote to take industrial action over pay

Lucy Elder

Wardens at Windsor Castle have voted for industrial action over pay.

In a ballot, which ended yesterday (Tuesday), 84 per cent voted for action on a turnout of 82 per cent.

The union represents 120 staff at the castle and balloted the 76 wardens called on to carry out extra duties.

Starting pay for wardens is £14,400 a year and they are also expected to carry out extra duties, including giving tours of the castle

A statement from Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union said non-strike industrial action, including withdrawing this goodwill, could start from the end of the month.

The wardens are employed by a charitable arm of the Royal Households, the Royal Collection Trust.

They work at the castle entrance, around the grounds and inside the palace, helping visitors and protecting artworks.

Workers narrowly accepted a pay offer last year on the understanding that additional allowances for paid-for tours and other skills would be considered this year.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "These loyal workers are the public face of Windsor Castle and with this vote their message to their employer is loud and clear.

"Staff should be properly rewarded for their commitment to ensuring visitors from around the world can fully enjoy their time at the castle."

UPDATE 1.30pm

A spokeswoman for the Royal Collection Trust said that since the ballot, they have been informed that some PCS-affiliated wardens at Windsor Castle will no longer take part in various activities undertaken during their working day.

These include using their language and first-aid skills and conducting tours of specific areas of the castle during August and September.

She said: "These activities have never been compulsory; it has always been the choice of the individual as to whether they take part.

"While the outcome of the ballot is disappointing, it will have no effect on services to visitors to the Castle.  Royal Collection Trust has since last year been exploring ways to achieve an agreed level of pay for all warden staff.

"Conversations that are part of the annual pay review process are still ongoing and an offer to expand the salary scale for a warden, starting at the regional living wage of £14,695 for new joiners (based upon an average 36 hour working week), has been put to PCS and other unions."

She added income from admissions and retail sales goes directly to the trust, which is a registered charity.

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