ULA Annual Conference 2019

Created on: 14 Jun 2019 | Last modified: 22 Apr 2020

The 2019 ULA Annual Conference was held on Wednesday 27th March. Members from HE institutions across Scotland were in attendance to debate and vote on EIS-ULA policy priorities for the year ahead.


ULA Annual Conference



That this Annual Conference notes with concern recent events at universities overseas - such as the arrest and sentencing of a British academic in the UAE and a clampdown on academic freedoms elsewhere. These give the EIS-ULA reason to be concerned about the ongoing relations that Scottish universities have with certain overseas institutions. We believe that some overseas relations have the potential to jeopardise the academic integrity of Scottish HE institutions and there is an urgent need for a review of such relations.

For example, we are particularly concerned by the suggestion that Edinburgh Napier University is considering striking up a partnership arrangement in Uganda, which would see members of ENU staff delivering teaching in Uganda. We are extremely worried about this, not least because to be LGBT is punishable by death in Uganda.

We are also worried by the attempt by Chinese authorities to police any discussion of industrial relations. This leads us to believe that staff employed by Scottish universities to work in China and the Chinese territories (and our colleagues employed by Chinese institutions) are lacking in genuine academic freedoms.

We call on the EIS - ULA Executive to lobby our employers and policy makers, alerting them to our concerns and calling for an independent review into this issue.


Fair and equal pay - the need for Scottish pay bargaining

That this Annual Conference notes with concern the lack of progress made at New JNCHES (national pay bargaining discussions) over the last decade and calls on the EIS-ULA to mount a serious campaign in favour of (the existing ULA policy, for) Scottish pay bargaining.

UK-wide pay bargaining has failed. We are now working more for less. Staff in HE have experienced a 19.3% real terms pay cut since 2009, meanwhile workload and workplace stress are on the increase. New JNCHES negotiations have also failed to meaningfully tackle the significant gender pay gap that exists in HE and the use of zero-hours and other casual contracts is still widespread.

We believe now is the time to campaign for Scottish pay bargaining. We believe that Higher Education in Scotland is sufficiently different to Higher Education in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and that the best place for us to address issues that are specific to Scottish HE is through Scottish pay bargaining.

A serious campaign for Scottish pay bargaining might involve some or all of the following: lobbying policy makers and politicians, organising a sector wide conference, publishing campaign materials, etc.


That this Annual Conference resolves to oppose any attempt by senior management or school management to undermine the Activity Planning Mechanisms negotiated and agreed by EIS branch officials.


That this Conference resolves that the EIS ULA should campaign for Universities to provide support for EIS ULA member’s mental health.


That this Conference resolves to campaign for improved Higher Education Governance.


That this Conference resolves to campaign for Higher Education Institutions to ensure EIS ULA members are accorded dignity and respect in the workplace.