Police arrive at student ‘three-day’ occupation of Great Hall inside Bristol University’s Wills Memorial Building

Bristol University has issued a statement

A dozen Bristol University students have ‘peacefully occupied’ the Great Hall of the Wills Memorial Building in Clifton in support of staff on strike over a pension dispute.

One of the protesters inside the hall told BristolWorld that the group took the hall at 8am, and have since barricaded entrances as they plan to stay for three days.

The protester said they had access to food, water and toilets.

Avon and Somerset Police officers arrived at 10.30am, while the university’s own security staff are also in attendance.

Outside of the building, staff members are holding a protest organised by the University and College Union - part of nationwide action over pensions managed by the University Superannuation Scheme

The students occupying the Great Hall want the union’s own proposals on pensions backed and a reverse in a decision by the university to withhold pay from staff taking part in the strikes.

Those occupying the hall said over the phone that they were in good spirits, with one of them was playing chess as they spoke.

A University of Bristol spokesperson said: “We are aware that students are currently occupying the Great Hall in the Wills Memorial Building.

“The action follows similar occupations at several other universities in which students are supporting the ongoing industrial action by lecturers and academic staff which is part of a complex national dispute over staff pay and pensions.

Students have access to toilets and amenities. We have never taken action against students for peaceful occupation and will not do so in this case.”

Alison Chapman, a UCU South West Official said she hoped the university employers got round the table and ‘to take UCU demands seriously’, as they are currently ‘absolutely intransigent and refusing to even look at the demands, which are entirely reasonable’.