3 June 2011
Whilst all the recent focus has been on the Queen in Ireland and meeting President Obama, a campaign involving the royal household has received much less attention.
The Public and Commercial Services Union ( PCS) have been campaigning for all the cleaners in the royal household to be paid the London Living Wage. Cleaners in the Houses of Parliament earn the recommended living wage for London of Â£7.85 per hour. The Union represents most of the employees in the royal household but not historically the cleaners who are employed by two private contractors. Following an approach from some employees the union began receiving applications for membership from among the cleaners and a range of issues about working conditions and health and safety issues were raised.
PCS mounted a campaign to tie in with the Royal Wedding . There is an on line petition, tube stations and staff entrances to the Palace have been leafleted. The latest announcement from one of the contractors is that â€˜efficienciesâ€™ are being looked at in order to improve salaries. The fear is that efficiencies means job cuts.
Redbridge Councillor Andy Walker has visited Buckingham Palace to hand in a letter signed by local union representatives and Labour Councillors from London boroughs including himself and Cllr. Balvinder Saund from Seven Kings Ward.
The letter read:-
â€˜I have read press reports that the Royal Household is considering lifting the pay of Royal cleaners to the London Living Wage.
I would be welcome if you could tell me whether you have any such plans as I would welcome such a developmentâ€™
Cllr. Balvinder Saund, Deputy Leader of the Labour Group said
â€˜Low pay is a big issue for women, these are the people who clean not only palaces but supermarkets and offices. Employers paying the higher London Living Wage will make a real difference to women and their families across London. The Tories are supposed to support the London Living Wage, but when it came to signing a letter encouraging the Palace to pay the cleaners a better wage not a single local Tory signed. A Labour administration would pay the London Living Wage to Council employees and ask firms who contract with the Council whether they pay at least the London Living Wage to their employees.â€™
Mike Gapes M.P. said:-
â€˜ I am pleased to give my support to this campaign. The cost of housing and living costs make London a very expensive place to live. All workers including those working for the Royal family should be paid a living wageâ€™
If you want to know more or sign the on line petition visit www.pcs.org.uk/royal cleaners
Watch the real news interview with a royal cleaner and footage from the protest at the Palace
Our Photo shows Cllr Andy Walker outside the Palace before presenting the letter.