Teachers' unions form partnership
Unions representing 375,000 teachers across the UK have launched an "historic" partnership aimed at strengthening their links ahead of the "challenges" they face.
The unions - the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), the Irish National Teachers' Organisation (INTO), the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the Ulster Teachers' Union (UTU) - agreed to work as partners in future campaigns.
They said that teachers faced the same challenges despite the differing education systems in parts of the country.
Many teachers are involved in a row over public-sector pensions, which will see a huge lobby of Parliament in October and a TUC-organised day of action on November 30.
EIS general secretary Ronnie Smith said: "The agreement strengthens each partner by facilitating both the sharing of information and ideas, and also joint campaigning on issues that cut across the different education systems within the UK."
Sheila Nunan, general secretary of INTO, said: "This agreement will strengthen existing links and co-operation between the four unions, and will be of great benefit to teachers. By working more closely together all of the unions will be better-placed to meet the significant challenges facing teachers."
NUT leader Christine Blower said: "I am pleased that our close ties with sister unions in the UK have been made stronger by this agreement and I am looking forward to working together on the many common challenges we face as unions committed to publicly-funded and publicly-accountable education provision."
Avril Hall-Callaghan, general secretary of the UTU, said: "Many young people from Northern Ireland travel to colleges elsewhere to obtain their third level qualifications. This historic partnership agreement ensures that no matter what career path they choose to follow within teaching they are covered automatically by one of the 'big four' unions."