Unprecedented news reaches the Royalist that members of the Queen’s staff are planning to—gasp—strike.
It would be the first time in history a royal strike has occurred.
The issue appears to be low pay, with affected staff claiming that they are being paid below a reasonable ‘living wage’ and are not being recompensed for guided tours they offer paying punters to the Royal Palaces.
“For whatever reason people want to go and work for the royal family,” a source at the Public and Commercial Services Union, whom I think we can safely assume is not a regular reader of the Royalist, tells The Daily Beast, “and they abuse that goodwill.”
To be fair, Royal staff have always complained that the pay they receive is inadequate, and the Queen has long been accused of underpaying staff, relying instead on the cachet that working for the state’s most illustrious personage confers.
Castle staff earn the equivalent of about $21,000 per year, meaning they exceed the legal minimum wage but are making less than the recommended London “living wage” of about $30,000. To make matters worse, they are usually expected to carry out extra duties for no extra pay, such as giving guided tours to visitors.
This is the latest bone of contention over which a ‘work to rule’ is now being proposed unless the staff are given some extra payments to reward them for this duty.
The staff members contemplating taking this rebellious step are the uniformed wardens who guide tourists around the royal palaces, and they are employees of the Royal Collection Trust. Butlers and footmen will continue their dutiful labors unaffected by this rude reminder of workers rights, so we are confident Her Majesty’s breakfast routine will not be disrupted.
A spokesperson for the general secretary of the The Public and Commercial Services Union said in a statement,
“An unsatisfactory pay offer for 2014 was only narrowly accepted by staff on the understanding that the additional allowances would be considered this year. But senior officials in the Royal Households have again refused to reward staff for their goodwill and pay allowances for additional duties.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka 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.”
Windsor Castle, the largest and oldest occupied castle in the world, attracts 1.1 million visitors each year, who between them spend more than £17 million, which is used by the Royal Collection Trust charity for the upkeep of the royal palaces and their contents.
In a statement, the Royal Collection Trust 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.”
The source grumbles, “It boils down to the simple issue that they should consider what message it sends to the world that staff who are the public face of the royal family at Windsor are paid such low wages. They would be mad not to give them the extra. We will have to see if they can think hold out, but we’re not asking a king’s ransom.”