The Queen’s cleaning staff are being denied the London Living wage, job adverts have revealed, despite them being tasked with looking after Britain’s most prestigious palace.
The Royal Household is currently advertising for housekeeping assistants at Buckingham Palace, but those given access to the heavily guarded home will not be given the recommended minimum rate for workers in the city.
Job advertisements have revealed Her Majesty will offer staff £8.17 an hour – £2.03 less than the £10.20 rate announced by Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.
The rate is voluntary but more than 1,000 employers have signed up to it, including the Crown Estate – which operates land across the UK owned by The Queen – and major employers like Unilever, Lloyds Bank and Ikea.
Buckingham Palace is advertising for cleaning staff – but they will not be paid the London Living Wage recommended by Mayor Sadiq Khan
Palace cleaners will be paid an hourly rate which is currently lower than staff a Lidl stores in London.
The budget supermarket is also advertising for employees – but will pay £9.27 per hour in Beckenham, Feltham and Wimbledon.
The Palace housekeeping role is full time and pays £16,995 annually, which works out at £326 a week for a 40 hour week.
However, wages are reduced to pay for rent to live in Buckingham Palace.
Staff have to work five days out of seven, meaning some weeks they will not get two consecutive days off.
The job involves cleaning and maintaining the lavish interiors of Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.
According to the advert successful candidates will ‘clean and care for a wide range of interiors and items, ensuring they’re presented to their very best’.
It is described as a ‘career pathway in hospitality’ and will help ‘develop your housekeeping skills and expertise’.
The Queen’s cleaners are paid more than £2 per hour less than the London Living Wage, Palace job adverts have revealed
Four years ago the Royal household was forced to withdraw a job advert in Scotland after offering just £12,000 a year for a maid’s job at the Palace of Holyrood House.
Three years ago staff at Windsor voted for industrial action over low pay and were going to go on strike for the first time only for Palace officials to make last minute concessions.
MPs have blasted the low rate, while top staff get bumper pay packets.
A ‘social media specialist’ for the Palace gets £50,000 a year and the Master of the Household gets £122,000 a year.
The Queen’s Private Secretary gets £146,000 a year and the Keeper of the Privy Purse is paid £180,000 a year.
Tess Lanning, director of the Living Wage Foundation, urged Buckingham Palace to fall into line with other major employers in London.
She said: ‘We encourage all employers that can afford to do so to pay a real Living Wage that covers the cost of living, not just the government minimum.
Buckingham Palace cleaners live on site but their rent is deducted from their wages. The Royal Household has defended the decision not to pay the London Living Wage
‘We’d be delighted to meet with Buckingham Palace to discuss how they can join the movement of 4,000 employers who ensure their employees earn a wage they can live on.’
Buckingham Palace said it does pay the voluntary living wage for staff who do not live in and also contributes to a pension and provides meals for the candidates who get the housekeeping position.
A Palace spokesperson said: ‘This is an entry level position which offers full training. It includes accommodation in central London and meals, for which there is a salary adjustment. Additionally, the Royal Household contributes 15% of the employee’s salary into a pension scheme.’