Premier 'hopeful' negotiated agreement can be reached before September

Premier Christy Clark says she is optimistic a deal can be reached with the teachers
Premier Christy Clark says she is optimistic a deal can be reached with the teachers' union before school starts Sept. 2.
— image credit: Wade Paterson/Capital News

Premier Christy Clark believes an agreement can still be reached with teachers before students are scheduled to head back to class.

Clark, who was speaking at a media event in Kelowna Monday, said legislating teachers back to work isn't a stable solution and would be "bad for kids."

"What legislating teachers back to work for the last 30 years has meant is that we've guaranteed more labour disruption, we've guaranteed that kids won't see labour peace," said Clark.

"I think it's time to try and fix that. So, my hope is that we can negotiate an agreement.

"That's the only way we'll solve this problem in the long-term."

The premier said the provincial government's negotiators are ready to resume talks.

"We want schools back in September and the only way we'll do that is if we get a negotiated settlement this summer."

When asked whether parents should be planning alternate activities for their children in case an agreement isn't reached, Clark said she didn't have an answer yet.

"I think at this point there is still hope that we can get a negotiated settlement.

"We can negotiate an agreement if we decide that we need to get there. I think we need to get there; I want school back in session in September.

"It's really just a matter of will for both sides to do that."

Earlier this month BCTF president Jim Iker told reporters he was optimistic mediation would get underway in August.

Two mediators have turned down offers to get involved with talks. Classes are scheduled to start Sept. 2.

Twitter: @PatersonWade


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