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University of Southampton criticised for their chauffeur advert after announcing job cuts

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The University of Southampton has come under fire after placing an advert for a chauffeur days after announcing seventy-five academic job cuts. 

According to the advertisement the “prestigious job” involves "providing a chauffeur and car service to university executives and visiting dignitaries", including the vice-chancellor, Sir Christopher Snowden.

The move to recruit a chauffeur for the university’s senior staff has been criticised as insensitive. In a statement, the University and College Union (UCU) said this was a sign that management are “out of touch.” 

Southampton say they wish to cut staff costs and in doing so have decided to downscale from eight to five faculties.

Six subject areas have been targeted for job cuts, these include English, Law, Chemistry, Music, Tribology and Social Sciences. The university will confirm the first members of staff to leave ahead of the Christmas break on December 19th - it is believed up to 75 lecturers will be made redundant.

Although Southampton is cutting staff to keep costs down senior staff still retain huge pay packages and perks. The vice-chancellor Christopher Snowden takes home £350,000 each year.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: “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 National Student contacted the university for a statement on the impact that a a reduction of the academic workforce would have on students.

At the time of publication the University had not replied, however, a university spokesman told Times Higher Education:

“The advertisement is one of many that have been processed this week. It’s for an existing role and is seeking a replacement for a colleague who is retiring.

“The role is for a member of our estates team to serve part-time in a caretaking role and part-time as chauffeur for a university pool car used by visitors and senior members of staff, including the vice-chancellor (a minority user of this service),

“The vehicle is only used in the context of work-related travel.” 




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