08/25/2014 02:44 EDT | Updated 08/25/2014 02:59 EDT

B.C. Teachers' Strike: 'Let's Get This Deal Done,' Says BCTF


The head of the B.C. Teachers' Federation is urging government to enter mediation with teachers in order to end an ongoing strike before the school year starts next week.

"How about tomorrow? Let's get this deal done," Jim Iker told hundreds of teachers gathered at union's summer conference in Kamloops.

He said talks have not moved forward because government has been unwilling to enter mediation with veteran mediator Vince Ready.

Iker says rotating picket lines will be up in full force across the province starting Monday in order to put pressure on the province.

When asked for comment, the Ministry of Education referred to a joint statement between public school employers and the BC Teachers' Federation.

The Aug. 14 statement says Ready is monitoring the situation and full mediation may begin when he believes it will be productive.

On Thursday, Education Minister Peter Fassbender came under fire for making the rounds in media interviews. Iker reminded him that all sides agreed to follow a media blackout.

The province's 40,000 public school teachers began the strike two weeks before the end of the school year, calling for higher wages as well as improved class sizes and composition.

B.C.'s finance minister has said the province will give parents with young children $40 a day for child care if the strike extends into the school year.

With files from The Canadian Press


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