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Late last night, an industry contact sent me a link to a Daily Mail article headlined: ‘Queen offers Buckingham Palace cleaning jobs at just £8.17 an hour - £2.03 below the London Living Wage’.
The article says the Queen’s cleaning staff are being offered only £8.17 an hour - £2.03 less than the £10.20 London living wage rate, and that successful candidates will also have Palace rent deducted from their pay packets. It points out, that although payment of the rate is voluntary, the Crown Estate, which operates land owned by the Queen across the UK, is one of 1,000 or so employers who’ve signed up to pay it.
According to the article, the Palace housekeeping role is a full-time one and pays £16,995 annually, which works out at £326 a week for a 40-hour week and means that the cleaners – working at either Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle (or both – it’s not clear from the article), will be paid an hourly rate lower than the £9.27 an hour being advertised at three Lidl supermarkets in Greater London. And with the rent coming out of the cleaners’ pay packets, the amount earned per hour will be even less.
The article then quotes a Palace spokesperson as saying: “This is an entry level position which offers full training. It includes accommodation in Central London and meals. Additionally, the Royal Household contributes 15% of the employee’s salary into a pension scheme.
I always like to have a look at the source of any newspaper articles so quickly Googled ‘Royal Household vacancies’, but was unable to find any housekeeping roles on the listings, so am assuming that any jobs have already been snapped up.
I have to say that if this is the case, I’m not at all surprised. Lower than London Living Wage or not, getting to live and eat in what must surely be the UK’s most prestigious address, is not something to be sniffed at. There are no travel costs to worry about or the frustration of cramming onto a crowded train or sitting in traffic jams. Further, the pension contribution is really generous while full training is provided. And just imagine how it must feel to have something like that on your CV!
Royal Household or Lidl? For me it would be ‘no contest’.
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19th April 2018