Students who chose to occupy their principal’s corridor for five days – including sleeping and eating there – over the university pensions row, claimed victory this week.

The 10 Royal Holloway, University of London students took a stand in solidarity with the University and College Union (UCU) whose members, which include their lecturers, have been striking nationwide over proposed changes to their pensions.

Last Friday the students confronted the principal of the university in Egham, Professor Paul Layzell, outside his office with a demand letter. They then decided to occupy the corridor, amid claims their demands were not met, and remained there until 12pm on Tuesday. They ate, slept and studied outside Prof Layzell’s office as they continued to protest during the five days, posting regular updates on social media site, Twitter. They were even sent a delivery of pizzas by union supporters during the so called occupation.

Calling themselves #RHOccupy, the students called on Professor Layzell to back the union and his own staff in their fight to the proposed changes.

On Tuesday he called for talks between the university employers, Universities UK, and the UCU to restart and accepted staff were unhappy with the pension proposals. The last talks in January ended with no agreement, leading to the strikes to take place.

Professor Layzell said: “I appreciate that the last four weeks (strikes) have not been easy for anyone.

“I am grateful for the respectful way in which the strike action has been conducted and to colleagues for your commitment and support for the College which, at times, has seen you going above and beyond what we should normally expect of you.

“Royal Holloway’s strong sense of community sets us apart and is, I believe, what enables us to achieve together as much as we do. I hope that UUK and UCU can, over the coming weeks, achieve a resolution so that we can all refocus our efforts on what we do best.”

There had been tension during the five days of occupation as the students accused Royal Holloway of not allowing them free-movement and some students had become separated from their medication. However the university insisted they had been ‘free to come and go’ and their health and safety had been a priority at all times. Professor Layzell had also spoken to the 10 in the corridor.