September 4, 2014 7:46 pm
Updated: September 4, 2014 9:49 pm

Fassbender echoes calls for BCTF to suspend strike: Confirms lockout lifted

WATCH: Education Minister Peter Fassbender floats the possibility of extending the school year for Grade 12 students. Keith Baldrey explains.

VANCOUVER – There are renewed calls today from the Education Minister for the BCTF to suspend its strike.

The province lifted the lockout on Aug. 27 when meeting with negotiators.

In a statement released on Thursday, Peter Fassbender says the BC Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA) will extend its commitment to forgo the lockout.

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He is asking the BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) to suspend all strike activity, echoing what Christy Clark said on Wednesday, and Fassbender says if the union accepts then school could begin in two days.

On Wednesday, BCTF president Jim Iker said teachers were still locked out.

“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,” says Fassbender in a statement.

“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.”

The confusion lies in the fact that on Aug. 27 the BCPSEA put out a news release to say the lockout had been lifted but it did not send a formal letter to the BCTF, so technically, according to the BCTF, the lockout was still in place.

On Wednesday, Iker said the teachers would not be suspending their strike.

The BCTF has not yet responded.

- With files from Keith Baldrey

© Shaw Media, 2014

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