Staff at Queen Elizabeth’s Windsor Castle are planning to take industrial action against the royal family over what their union says is “appalling” pay.
According to the UK’s Express, low-paid staff are expected to perform extra duties for free, including giving tours and interpreting for tourists at the castle west of London.
Of the castle’s 200 staff, 120 are union members, and if they vote in favour of an upcoming ballot to stop performing extra duties, it would be the first strike by staff working for the royal family.
According to the report, staff accepted an unsatisfactory pay deal last year under the guise of additional allowances, but the Royal Collection Trust, which manages the castle, has reneged on the deal.
“It is scandalous that staff are so appallingly paid and expected to do work for free that brings in money for the Royal Family,” Public and Commercial Services Union secretary Mark Serwotka said.
A spokeswoman for the Royal Collection Trust insisted the extra duties were voluntary and said staff received other benefits like a daily free lunch.
“These are not compulsory aspects of their role, and it is the choice of the individual whether they wish to take part,” she told Express.
Windsor Castle staff were also paid above the average regional living wage and received a healthy pension contribution, she said.
Queen Elizabeth normally spends weekends at the castle but also hosts banquets there and uses it as her residence over Easter.
Prince Charles is the chairman of the Royal Collection Trust, which last year made a profit of £8.3 million (AUD $16 million).