REGIONAL: University advertises chauffeur job days after announcing 75 redundancies

The Highfield Campus at the University of Southampton, which is home to the George Thomas Building. Picture: Geograph
The Highfield Campus at the University of Southampton, which is home to the George Thomas Building. Picture: Geograph
Havant Park. Picture: Google Street View

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A UNIVERSITY is on the hunt for a chauffeur for its senior staff – days after announcing dozens of job cuts.

The University of Southampton posted a job advertisement for a chauffeur caretaker just days after announcing 75 of its jobs are at risk as part of a restructure.

Part of the job advertisement, posted on the University of Southampton's website

Part of the job advertisement, posted on the University of Southampton's website

Published in the job opportunities section of the university’s website, the advert says the 25-hours-a-week role would include ‘providing a chauffeur and car service to university executives and visiting dignitaries’.

The post says the successful candidate would be expected to maintain a ‘high level on confidentiality’, providing a ‘caretaker service’ during the stand-down time of the role – which would be stationed at the George Thomas Building.

The position would come with an annual salary of between £19,850 and £23,557.

The advertisement has provoked a response from the University and College Union (UCU), which says the plan to axe 75 jobs ‘risks damaging Southampton’s reputation’.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: ‘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.’

According to the union, senior salaries at the University of Southampton have increased – with vice-chancellor Christopher Snowden earning a £350,000 pay and benefit package.

A spokesperson for the University of Southampton said in a statement: ‘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 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 – so they can work while in transit.

‘The vehicle is only used in the context of work-related travel. The post is not a personal chauffeur or ‘VC chauffeur’, as the vice-chancellor does not have first call on the use of the vehicle and does not make use of the car privately. He travels to and from work in his own car, for which he pays the university parking charge.’