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Teachers have strike mandate

The president of British Columbia's teachers' union says his bargaining team will return to the table today and for talks next week despite receiving an overwhelming mandate to take job action.

Jim Iker of the BC Teachers' Federation made the comments late last night, after announcing the results of a vote that saw 26,051 members vote for job action, giving the union an 89 per cent strike mandate.

But Iker says no immediate action is planned, teachers want to settle the issues at the bargaining table, and if any job action happens it will be administrative first.

The provincial government says Education Minister Peter Fassbender will address the strike vote later this morning.

But in a media release last night he said both sides have tools available to increase pressure during bargaining, and he respects the process.

The province's 41,000 teachers have been without a contract since June 2013, and outstanding issues include wages, class sizes and class composition.

The Canadian Press

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