The four biggest trade unions in higher education have joined forces with the Union of Students in Ireland to campaign for better public investment in the sector. 

The Irish Federation of University Teachers, the Teachers Union of Ireland, IMPACT and SIPTU announced their new coalition with the USI as they published joint-proposals on higher education funding.

The five organisations are calling for phased increases in public investment, coupled with an increased employers' contribution to the costs of public higher education.

They said a higher contribution from industry, which is one of the main beneficiaries of the public education system, is justified because Irish levels of employer social insurance are amongst the lowest in the OECD.

The coalition said it is vehemently opposed to income-contingent student loans, a proposal that is believed to be among the options being considered by Government.