The University Lecturers’ Association (ULA) was formed in 1992, following the merger of the Association of Lecturers in Scottish Central Institutions (ALSCI) and the Association of Lecturers in Colleges of Education in Scotland (ALCES) with the EIS in 1985 and 1988 respectively. 

With the expansion of the university sector in 1992, the ULA soon became the lead trade union for lecturing staff in the post-1992 universities in Scotland and extended its membership into the pre-1992 sector, as Teacher Education Institutions merged with a number of these universities. 

The creation of a new national Joint Negotiating Committee for Higher Education Staff (JNCHES) in August 2001 saw a major shift in the mechanism for national collective bargaining in the sector and the ULA took its place in this forum, as the only Scottish trade union, negotiating pay on a UK-wide basis. 

For over a decade, the ULA has fought to address the real-terms pay cuts to lecturers’ salaries. With other terms and conditions being reserved for local negotiation, ULA branches have been instrumental in campaigning to address the increasing workloads which lecturers have encountered over the same period. 

The ULA recently carried out successful strike action at the SRUC to protect members’ pay. 

As dissatisfaction with lecturer pay levels and the lack of any national collective bargaining in higher education in Scotland grows, the ULA is now seeking to bring national collective bargaining on both pay and wider terms and conditions into the Scottish landscape.