The 76 wardens, employed by the Royal Collection Trust, voted in favour by 84% of a action short of strike. The turn out was 82%.
The strike, which may start from the end of April, would see the wardens, all who are members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union omit from activities that they are “expected” to carry out, but are not paid for.
Wardens are hired to work at the entrance to the castle, around the grounds and inside the castle protecting artworks and helping visitors. However, wardens claim they are “expected” to preform extra duties, such as giving tours of the castle to fee-paying visitors, without pay. Thus the reason for the strike.
Currently wardens are paid a starting salary of £14,400 a year.
Speaking about the issue, general secretary of PCS, Mark Serwotka has 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.”
PCS went on to say how staff only accepted an “unsatisfactory” pay offer last year on the basis that additional allowances for paid-for tours and other skills would be discussed this year.
While the Royal Collection Trust finds the ballot unfortunate, it feels it will not affect visitors, saying: “Following the union ballot, we have been informed that some PCS-affiliated wardens at Windsor Castle will no longer participate in various activities undertaken during their working day, including using their language and first-aid skills, and conducting tours of specific areas of the Castle during August and September.”
“These activities have never been compulsory; it has always been the choice of the individual as to whether they take part.”
“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.”
Photo Credit: Patrick via Flickr