The advert has been released on the University website just a week after the Vice-Chancellor’s, All Staff Address which informed staff and students that 75 lecturer’s jobs were at risk.
The advert has upset many individuals who have found it particularly problematic to hire a Chauffeur Caretaker to ‘provide a chauffeur and car service to the University Executives and visiting dignitaries’ just a week after enforcing that the University must make drastic budget cuts to lecturers’ and staff services.
The Vice-Chancellor stated in his All Staff Address, that the University spends too much money on staffing in comparison to the influx of students attending the University.
The Unions state that drastic cuts to academic staff costs have already been implemented when statistics show a decade ago 60% of the University’s income went on staff and now it is 53%. On the other hand, the position of Vice-Chancellor has seen nearly a 50% pay increase since 2009/2010 when the wage was £227,000 to £350,000 and a benefits package in 2015/2016 despite the fact Sir Christopher Snowden only joined the University in 2015. This pay increase was then criticised publicly by universities minister Jo Johnson.
The University and College Union (UCU) general secretary Sally Hunt commented on the matter:
For years UCU has been highlighting how out of touch vice-chancellors look when it comes to their own pay and perks. They are happy to keep down staff pay and conditions yet see nothing wrong with accepting inflation-busting pay rises and all the perks. Advertising for a chauffeur for the executives while threatening to axe as many as 75 academic posts is insulting and shows contempt for the staff. This move will, understandably, raise further questions about the priorities of the senior managers at Southampton.
The university intends to confirm the first cohort of staff to leave on the 19th December.
The University have responded to the complaints and stated:
The advertisement is for an existing job with dual responsibilities and is seeking a replacement for a colleague who is retiring. The role is for someone to work part-time in a caretaking role, and part-time as a driver for the University pool car. This car is used by a wide range of visitors and senior members of staff, including the Vice-Chancellor who is a minority user of this service, so they can work while in transit and where public transport is not available. The vehicle is only used in the context of work-related travel. The Vice-Chancellor travels to and from work in his own car for which he pays the University parking charge.