EDUCATION Minister Peter Fassbender issued the following statement on Thursday afternoon:
“On Aug. 27, 2014, I met with the lead negotiators for the BCTF and BCPSEA and asked them to suspend any strike and lockout activities if the parties entered mediation so students could start school and teachers could go to work.
“The BCTF refused to suspend their pickets and declined to even canvass their members on the proposal.
“Today, I asked BCPSEA to confirm with the union that even though mediation has not yet commenced, BCPSEA will unilaterally extend its commitment to forego all lock out activities until further notice.
“I am once again asking the BCTF to lift their pickets and suspend all strike activity while we try to negotiate an agreement. Even though we are not yet in mediation, we need to get students back in the classroom and teachers back to work.
“If the BCTF agrees, schools could reopen within two days. Let’s get students back in school and teachers back in classrooms while the parties work towards mediating an end to this dispute.”