Uni bans tea and coffee after giving head a huge pay rise


PENNY-PINCHING bosses at a Scots university warned staff to stop ordering “teabreak supplies” – just days after it was revealed their principal was given a £34,000 pay rise.

Last week the University and College Union (UCU) revealed that Dundee University principal Professor Sir Pete Downes enjoyed a 13% pay rise in the past year alone.

Their report on the “pay and perks” of university chiefs also showed that he spent £2,723 on flights and that the university employs 82 members of staff who are paid more than £100,000 a year.

Staff have been warned to stop ordering "teabreak" supplies
Staff have been warned to stop ordering “teabreak” supplies

But just days later university coin-counters have sent a memo to staff warning them to tighten their purse-strings by stopping orders of tea, coffee and milk owing to “pressure on budgets”.

The memo on expenses was written by Elaine Plenderleith – the administrator for the university’s school of social sciences.

It states: “Please note that, owing to further pressure on budgets, we are being asked to use existing stationary/office supplies, IT supplies, furniture and equipment wherever possible to make savings on a budget.

“I am sure you will have seen the recent emails from Professor Pete Downes with regard to the current financial situation and I hope you can understand the position on reducing expenditure such as this.

Under a heading of “items not eligible for ordering” the memo lists “tea break supplies” of tea, coffee and milk.


A spokesman for the university said: “We always ask staff the exercise responsibility and consider what expenditure is necessary, and to seek savings wherever possible.”

On Thursday Professor Downes announced that Dundee University would have to consider cuts in the face of a £10m black hole.

In an email to staff, he wrote: “The outlook for 2016/17 is a deficit in the university finances of £8m to £10m.

“Unless we take action to address this then we will be looking at a real threat to our financial sustainability.

“The negative implications this has for our finances has brought us to a point where we have to fundamentally look at the sustainability of the university and consider the shape and size of the institution.

Professor Downes blamed the university’s financial state on the latest Scottish Government funding settlement, as well as increases in staff pay and pensions.

But a Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “Notwithstanding a very tough budget round, we will continue to invest over £1bn of funding for 2016/17.

“This ensures all of our institutions receive financial support to enable them to deliver high-quality teaching, world-class research and knowledge exchange, and provides a stable base which helps the, to attract additional funding from a wide range of sources.”