THE Royal family has come under fire after offering a “medieval” wage in its search for a warden to join its Capital-based staff.
A “cheerful” new employee is wanted to work at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, but will be paid just 36p an hour above the legal minimum – and 95p lower than the city council’s “Living Wage”.
The permanent position would suit someone who speaks more than one language and has “an interest in history and the arts”, according to an advert posted on the family’s website by the Royal Collection Trust, which runs the palace.
But the £13,817 salary package – which doesn’t include accommodation – was slammed today by politicians.
Mike Crockart, the Liberal Democrat MP who represents Edinburgh West, said the offer overshadowed recent attempts to modernise the monarchy.
He said: “Last week in parliament we passed the Succession to the Crown Bill in order to help modernise the monarchy – we obviously have a lot further to go when they are offering medieval wages such as these.”
The permanent job at Holyroodhouse involves meeting and greeting thousands of visitors each year.
Candidates must “enjoy engaging with visitors to deliver the highest standards of service” and “be able to work weekends, evenings and both in and outdoors”.
The wage equates to just £6.55 an hour compared with the minimum wage for adults aged over 21 of £6.19p an hour.
Lothians MSP Alison Johnstone, who campaigned successfully for a minimum salary of £7.50 an hour for city council employees, also condemned the offer. She said: “This salary does not reflect the magnificence of the palace. I find it hard to believe that anyone with the required experience and job requirements would be able to live on such a low salary.
“This is clearly a responsible and important position and it would be very welcome if the Royal Trust would follow in the footsteps of the city council and introduce a Living Wage.”
More than 2000 city council workers received a salary rise of at least £1000 following the adoption of the new fair pay scheme last year.
Pay was set at a minimum of £7.50 an hour, 5p above the recommended rate and significantly higher than the wage being offered to prospective palace wardens.
John Stevenson, Edinburgh Unison branch president, was instrumental in campaigning for the adoption of the increased wage.
He said: “Following on from the introduction of the Living Wage by the local authority, the next step for us is to encourage all employers in Edinburgh to consider a Living Wage because as well as benefitting workers it also greatly helps stimulate the local economy.
“Research shows that those on low wages then invest this money in the local economy providing a boost to local shops and businesses.”
Last year’s annual report from the Royal Collection Trust said Holyroodhouse had 267,000 visitors in 2010-11, while 53,000 visited The Queen’s Gallery, which adjoins the palace.
A Royal Collection Trust spokeswoman said: “The starting salary for a warden at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, with no prior experience, is £13,817. This salary is based on an hourly rate of £6.55. Royal Collection Trust regularly benchmarks salaries against other heritage organisations to ensure that they are competitive and reward staff.
“The Trust invests in training and development opportunities and once a warden has gained the relevant experience they progress through our salary bands.
“We offer a range of additional benefits including a free lunch and a 15 per cent non-contributory pension. Wardens are given 25-30 days of holiday, plus bank holidays, dependent on length of service. The role of warden at the Palace is always popular and attracts a high number of applicants.”
THE Queen earns between £10 million and £15m a year and the Sunday Times Rich List lists Her Majesty’s personal fortune at £310m.
The highest-paid jobs in the UK are those of chief executives and senior officials who can pocket an average £85,223 each year.
Aircraft pilots and flight engineers take home around £78,736. Meanwhile, medical practitioners earn around £71,279.
The three lowest full-time paid jobs are waiter, hairdresser and bar staff, who earn just over £12,000.