Windsor Castle workers demand ‘loyalty’ as up to half of Queen’s household staff face the ax

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Workers gathered at Windsor Castle to silently protest plans to cut down to half of the Queen’s household staff amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Staff at the Royal Collection Trust staged a silent protest outside Windsor Castle on Tuesday against new plans that would see staff face pension cuts and 200 mandatory layoffs.

The workers, who manage the public opening of Her Majesty’s residences, demanded “loyalty” from their employers and held a sign saying “King Henry has cut off heads … now they want to cut our jobs and cut our pensions” .

Reports of compulsory and voluntary dismissal come after coronavirus crisis created an £ 18million black hole in Her Majesty’s finances.

The Royal Collection Trust, which is one of the five departments of the royal household, employs 600 people across the country, including at Buckingham Palace and Windsor, Berkshire.

“Faithful” workers have duties, including the conservation of the historic Royal Collection, one of the largest private art collections in the world.

Up to half of the 600 royal employees at the Royal Collection Trust could be sacked after Covid-19 created a £ 18million black hole in Her Majesty’s finances

Royal staff staged a silent protest outside Windsor Castle on Tuesday against the new plans, which could result in the distribution of 200 mandatory layoffs

Royal staff staged a silent protest outside Windsor Castle on Tuesday against the new plans, which could result in the distribution of 200 mandatory layoffs

The Royal Collection Trust is a registered charity which was founded in 1987 and workers have maintained and preserved the Royal Collection ever since.

It employs people in a wide range of roles essential to Her Majesty’s Household, including conservationists, curators, merchants and visitor services.

The trust is responsible for acquiring the appropriate resources to improve the collection, but it also allows the public to benefit from Her Majesty’s households.

It manages the opening to the public of Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and Holyroodhouse Palace in Edinburgh.

The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), which represents workers, believes that had staff been fired during the pandemic, when royal households were not open, layoffs could have been avoided.

He added that 104 staff members have shown interest in the voluntary layoffs, 92 of them accepting them.

There could be another 200 compulsory layoffs for Royal Household staff, according to the PCS union.

But workers who keep their jobs face a 7 percent cut in their non-contributory pensions.

Mark Page, Industrial Manager at PCS, said: “Loyal members of staff should not face such threats.

Even acknowledging the pandemic, vulnerable staff believe the Royal Household has enough assets to weather the financial storm after seeing record ticket sales and retail sales in recent years.

“The benefits directly attributed to the same department that the royal house now penalizes.”

The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), which represents royal staff, said workers who keep their jobs could face a 7% cut in non-contributory pensions

The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), which represents royal staff, said workers who keep their jobs could face a 7% cut in non-contributory pensions

The conservation work of the Royal Collection Trust is undertaken without any public funding and income is generated through admission, shopping and other initiatives.

A spokesperson for RCT said: “Due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the finances of Royal Collection Trust, we have had to take a number of steps to reduce personnel costs.

“In addition to implementing a salary freeze and offering a voluntary severance package to employees, we have just completed a consultation period on a proposal to reduce pension contributions and will soon discuss our response with trade unions.

WHAT IS THE ROYAL TRUST COLLECTION?

The Royal Collection is a British charity established in 1987 by Queen Elizabeth II under the chairmanship of Charles, Prince of Wales, to manage the Royal Collection.

He is responsible for the maintenance and presentation of the collection, which is one of the most important private art collections in the world.

Spread among 13 occupied and historic royal residences in the UK, the collection is owned by Elizabeth II and is overseen by the Royal Collection Trust.

It also manages the opening to the public of the official residences of Her Majesty the Queen.

Their website states, “Through our work, from exhibitions and learning programs to publications and retail products, we aim to ensure that the Royal Collection and Palaces are enjoyed and appreciated by all.

Source: Trust Collection Royale

A spokesperson for PCS said, “One hundred and four people have expressed interest in the voluntary layoff program, 92 have actually adopted it.

“We expect an announcement in the coming days of a mandatory plan.

“To realize the savings that management claims they need to achieve, we think it will have to make 200 mandatory dismissals.

The trust also recruits approximately 350 employees each summer to help front-of-house teams create a “memorable experience for visitors from around the world.”

The Queen, 94, and Prince Philip, 99, have been treated in Windsor since the lockdown began in mid-March by a dedicated team of staff who provide a protective shield – dubbed ‘HMS Bubble’ – around them .

The staff are split into two groups of 12 people who work away from their families on a “three week, three week off” basis, the Sun reported.

Royal staff, including chefs, cleaners and officials, spend two weeks at home and a third week in quarantine while they are away from Windsor, it has been said.

Under strict measures to protect the monarch, each employee is then tested for Covid-19 and their temperature taken before they can begin another three-week rotation.

It was announced yesterday that the Queen will return to work at Buckingham Palace in October in hopes of resuming “some audiences and engagements in London” for the first time since March.

The monarch and Prince Philip generally stay in Balmoral, Aberdeenshire until next month, but are now expected to leave earlier, Buckingham Palace announced yesterday.

She and the Duke of Edinburgh will leave Balmoral next week and travel to Norfolk together to ‘spend some time in private’ at the Sandringham Estate, where Philip spends much of his retirement at Wood Farm.

The Queen will then return to Windsor in October, from where she will travel to Buckingham Palace for working visits.

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