Queen backlash: Household staff demand ‘loyalty’ as 600 staff face redundancy

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As many as 600 jobs are at risk after the coronavirus pandemic created an £18million black hole in Her Majesty’s finances. The remaining royal employees also face pension cuts.

In response, hundreds of the Royal Collection Trust’s staff have decided to stage a silent protest outside Windsor Castle.

Workers were seen holding sings saying “loyalty is a two-way street” and “King Henry cut off heads… now they want to axe our jobs and cut our pensions”.

Employees of the Royal Collection Trust (RCT) have also been subject to pay freeze.

The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), which represents the workers, said 104 staff showed an interest in voluntary redundancies, with 92 taking them.

The union added there could still be another 200 compulsory redundancies for royal household staff.

But even staff who remain in post also face cuts, such as a seven percent cut to their non-contributory pensions.

Mark Page, industrial officer at PCS, said: “Loyal staff members should not be facing threats like this.

“Even acknowledging the pandemic, vulnerable staff believe the Royal Household has enough assets to ride out the financial storm having had record numbers of ticket sales and retail sales in recent years.

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“Profits directly attributed to the very department the Royal Household is now penalising.”

The RCT is in charge of royal artwork and public tours at Her Majesty’s residences.

It employs some 600 people across the country, including at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.

A RCT spokesman 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 staff-related costs.

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“As well as implementing a pay freeze and offering a voluntary severance programme to employees, we have just completed a period of consultation on a proposed reduction in pension contributions and will be discussing our response with the unions shortly.”

The PCS said if staff had been furloughed during the pandemic, redundancies could have been prevents.

A spokesman said: “One hundred and four people expressed an interest in the voluntary redundancy scheme, 92 actually took it up.

“We are expecting an announcement in the next few days of a compulsory scheme.

“To make the savings that the management claim they need to make, we believe that they will need to make 200 compulsorily redundant.”

The Queen and Prince Philip spent the entirety of the coronavirus lockdown isolating at Windsor Castle.

Last month they travelled to Balmoral Castle, the Queen’s Scottish estate, to spend the remainder of the summer break.

They are due to return next week.

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