STUDENTS have shown solidarity with their lecturers over an ongoing pensions row by demanding that the university’s vice chancellor resigns.

Members of the University of Reading Marxist Society took action after several days of strikes saw lectures cancelled without any offer of students being reimbursed.

Sir David Bell, the university’s vice chancellor, came under fire from furious students, demanding that he resigned.

The majority of lecturers who are part of the University and College Union (UCU) voted in favour of 14 days worth of strikes after it was revealed that staff could lose £10,000 per year after retirement.

A statement on the group’s Facebook page said: “Students currently in occupation are releasing this joint statement to express our opposition to the deal being offered to UCU by Universities UK, and believe we stand with many grassroots members of UCU in doing so.

"We will stand with all staff and branches who choose to express opposition to the deal and urge UCU to reject this offer at the meeting tomorrow. Our staff deserve fair pensions, and this proposal does not offer that.

"This dispute is linked to the Government’s plans to marketise education. Education should be a free public service. Instead, universities are being forced to act more and more like businesses. Private providers - who put profit before our education - are being given more and more of a role.

Reading Chronicle:

"We believe in a radical transformation of our education system. We support and demand free, democratic and accessible education for both domestic and international students funded by taxing the rich and big business."

The students refused to leave after calling for the vice chancellor to resign.

The new pension scheme will scrap guaranteed pension benefits in favour of a defined contribution scheme, which will leave retirement income down to the returns made from investment in the stock market.

University security refused entry to anyone trying to bring in supplies for the protesters and the university took responsibility for feeding the students before police were called.

A spokesman for the University of Reading added: “A small group of student protesters has occupied the foyer outside the Vice-Chancellor’s office on the third floor of Whiteknights House since approximately 10.15am on Monday 12 March.

“The vice chancellor agreed to meet with the protesters yesterday and discuss their position with them, on the condition that they then agreed to leave the building. This offer was rejected and the protesters remain on site.

“The University supports the right to peaceful, lawful protest but we have a duty to our staff in the building and to ensure minimal disruption to University business. We have encouraged the protesters to leave of their own accord.

“The University Executive Board has decided that food from external sources will not be permitted, but food is being provided to the protesters by the University. The group has access to water and toilet facilities.”