Windsor Castle staff to vote on industrial action over pay

Windsor Castle staff to vote on industrial action over pay

Lucy Elder

The Royal Household is facing industrial action by Windsor Castle staff as the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union opens a ballot over allowances.

The announcement was made on the PCS website today and says the action comes after years of pay restraint has left workers paid below the widely-recognised living wage. It adds new recruits start on £14,400 a year.

This would be the first such action specific to the Royal Households.

The union represents 120 of the 200 staff in Windsor.

The ballot opens tomorrow (Tuesday) and closes on April 14, with industrial action planned to start from the end of the month.

Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said: "These workers are loyal to their employer and absolutely committed to ensuring visitors are given the royal treatment.

"It is scandalous that staff are so appallingly paid and expected to do work for free that brings in money for the royal family."

A statement from a Royal Collection Trust spokeswoman said wardens are employed by the Royal Collection Trust, a registered charity, and income from admissions and retail sales goes directly to it.

She added the trust’s aims are the care and conservation of the Royal Collection and the promotion of access and enjoyment through exhibitions, publications, loans and educational programmes.

The trust does not have any public funding.

She said: “Warden staff are offered voluntary opportunities to receive training and develop skills to lead guided tours for visitors as part of their working day and to administer first aid, as well as to use their language skills. 

“These are not compulsory aspects of their role, and it is the choice of the individual whether they wish to take part. 

“Wardens at Windsor Castle are paid above market median based upon the Regional Living Wage and receive a range of benefits, including a 15 per cent non-contributory pension and a free lunch. 

“Royal Collection Trust continues to award wardens an annual performance-related pay increase of up to 2.5 per cent, in addition to the cost of living increase (in line with treasury guidelines), as well as one-off payments to those who have reached the top of their pay scale.”

She added the do not anticipate any interruption to the running of tours for visitors to the castle.

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