Socialist Worker

Sussex bosses wine and dine while they slash jobs

by Siân Ruddick
Issue No. 2192

Management at Sussex university have been stuffing their faces in the company of high-paid business executives—while pushing through cuts that will devastate education.

According to Universities UK, the average pro vice chancellor earns £194,000 a year—almost matching that of the prime minister.

And yet this level of personal wealth is not good enough for some.

The vice chancellor at Sussex university gets £222,000 a year. And the university’s top 14 senior managers are on salaries ranging from £100,000 to £200,000, totalling £2.1 million between them.

The university is continuing to hire more and more managers, at considerable expense.

The pro vice chancellor Robert Allison sees fit to charge a huge variety of meals, transport and hotel costs to the university, resulting in thousands of pounds worth of claims each year.

In 2007 pro vice chancellor for education Joanne Wright attended a conference held by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) to the tune of £381.88.

The Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane had a good year in 2008. Wright’s expenses claims show management spent £1,811.25 on attending the Times Higher Education awards there on 15 October.

This fee included dinner—but they still spent £253.95 on refreshments.

This is in addition to £705 for the seat booking at another awards ceremony on 23 October in the hotel and another £78.75 spent on refreshments.

Courting

Sussex management have been courting the world’s top arms traders too.

In July 2008, Allison took Rolls Royce representatives to the Gingerman restaurant at Drakes Hotel. The bill came to £147.50.

Despite management announcing massive cuts for workers in September last year, Allison has found it difficult to restrain his spending.

Since then he has filed claims for £1,265.41 in restaurant meals. There could be more claims that Socialist Worker has not yet seen.

But the swollen salaries and luxury lunches don’t lead Sussex management to forget the little things in life.

Gifts for a member of staff “re: institutional audit outcome” cost £21.94.

Allison even claimed several £1.80 bus fares and £1.20 for a pay and display parking meter.

And when university bosses are in too much of a rush to go to their favourite plush dining establishments they put in expense claims for their food on the go—like £5.10 for a bagel at London’s Victoria station.


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