PORTSMOUTH University has come under fire after its plans to slash jobs restarts during the coronavirus crisis.

The University's plans to axe more than half of its English Literature department were originally suspended in March, in a bid to remove worry and anxiety for staff during the coronavirus pandemic.

But this process has since been restarted due to the easing of government restrictions, meaning 11 members of staff in the 13-strong department are at risk of losing their jobs, with eight staff members set to be axed.

Two of the members of the department are reported to be shielding, while another six have children of school age and the government has this week, abandoned plans to open all schools before the summer.

This has sparked anger from the University and College Union, who say that while the university's policy on staff working from home remains unchanged, the only thing that seems to have changed is the university's "concern for its staff".

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: "The only thing that appears to have changed since March is the University of Portsmouth’s concern for its staff. The university should have cancelled these unwarranted cuts in March and not left the axe hanging over the department. To try and justify an easing of Covid-19 restrictions to cut jobs in the middle of the pandemic is ridiculous.

"The university talks up the standard of its teaching, but high quality teaching relies on high quality teachers. The University of Portsmouth should work with us to make the case for government funding to defend its academic capacity, instead it is sending out a very worrying message about how little it values its staff and their health and well-being."