Hampton Court denies union claim it doesn’t pay staff London’s living wage

Claims that Hampton Court Palace staff are not paid the London living wage of £10.75 per hour are “categorically untrue,” according to a press release from the Palace.

Earlier this week the GMB union urged London Zoo, Hampton Court Palace and the Tower of London to pay their staff the London living wage and claimed that some of their staff earn as little as £8.21 per hour.

“It is categorically untrue to suggest that Historic Royal Palaces does not pay the London Living Wage. We are firmly committed to this and we have been for a long time,” a Hampton Court Palace spokesperson said.

“In fact, we are already paying above today’s announced increases in London, but as is our established practice, we will review our wage rates and make increases if they are necessary.”

The GMB had claimed in a statement released on Remembrance Sunday that staff at some tourist hotspots are paid nearly £5,000 per year less than what economists believe is needed to live in the capital.

“On the day that we honour those who have fought for and given so much for their country its scandalous that hundreds of thousands of their descendants and ex-service people are working without the dignity of being able to provide for their own families,” the statement said.

Michael Ainsley, a regional organiser for GMB, described the situation as “embarrassing” and said: “We have asked HRP (Historic Royal Palaces) and ZSL (Zoology Society London) to sign up to be real living wage employers.

“They have declined to do (this) because that requires them to commit to ensuring all workers working at their establishments will be paid the real living wage.”

It’s not the first time that the GMB union and Hampton Court Palace have clashed. In January this year, around 120 members of staff at the Tower of London and Hampton Court Palace went on strike over a pension dispute.

Other local bodies such as Richmond Council have been quick to implement the new living wage announcing on Wednesday that they would be committing to the scheme.

Paul Martin, the council’s chief executive, said: “The Living Wage helps our employees to afford to live with an improved standard of living. It also helps the council by improving staff motivation and retention, enabling us to provide better customer services.”

Other businesses have been reluctant to introduce the new London living wage. McDonald’s staff from six London restaurants went on strike this week over demands to end “poverty pay” and raise the basic rate of pay in London to £15 per hour.

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