So, PCS, the Civil Service union, is balloting its 120 union members at Windsor Castle over non-strike industrial action in connection with a dispute over a pay. The issue relates to workers at the royal residence being required to undertake extra duties, such as taking visitors on tours, for no additional pay. A vote in favour would result in a withdrawal of co-operation which could have a significant impact on services to visitors to the castle.
This in itself is hardly big news. However, it is indicative of the fact that, after a period of stagnation, the trades unions are increasingly starting to challenge pay deals as we emerge from the recession. We anticipate many more challenges over the coming months.
Employers need to be ready for such challenges and have their strategy in place before entering into the next round of pay negotiations, including how to deal with any threat of industrial action. In the meantime, the lawyers at Windsor Castle may want to consider whether threatening to damage service levels at a royal household is an act of treason.