Queen's University, Belfast has saved £13m by cutting staff jobs
A UNIVERSITY that hit out at the loss of a large government subsidy freed up millions by letting dozens of staff go.
Queen's in Belfast, whose head has criticised the cutting of £8 million, said it had achieved "some £13.3m related to pay savings" through the release of 236 posts.
Millions of pounds was then pumped into salaries for new top staff, however.
The Irish News revealed this month that senior managers, appointed as part of a major restructuring, each stand to take home more money a year than the first minister.
Queen's has already appointed seven highly-paid managers, while another 11 have been given "positions of responsibility" on a part-time basis.
The institution said this was part of ambitious plans for a £50m investment it hopes will secure its position as a "global leader in education and research".
Students and staff have been highly critical of the university over cuts to jobs, student numbers and courses, the planned merger of university schools and tough research funding targets for probationary lecturers.
Members of the University and College Union (UCU) walked out last week in protest at a 1.1 per cent pay offer, claiming they had suffered a cut of 14.5 per cent in real terms since 2009.
The UCU said under the new vice-chancellor's `Vision 2020', the number of top academic managers increased from six to 22.
At the highest level, the existing three pro-vice-chancellors are joined by three new pro-VCs leading faculties. They will be paid between £105,000 and £130,000 a year.
A dozen new faculty deans also stand to earn up to £126,711. This means they are higher paid at the top of their scale that the first and deputy first ministers at Stormont, whose annual salaries for the last three years have been £120,000.
Queen's was asked how much it hoped to save through staff restructuring.
"Comprehensive plans to deliver recurrent savings of £15.9m were approved by Senate on April 14 2015, of which some £13.3m related to pay savings through the release of 236 posts," the university said.
"In addition to voluntary severance, the targeted pay savings were achieved through the suppression of vacant posts and scheduled retirements."
UCU has been critical of the appointments, which they said were being made at a time when front line staff had been drastically cut.
"There is widespread unrest amongst staff and students about the reorganisation, and the cuts to staff and courses. We hear of many distinguish academics who are leaving," a spokesman said.