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Teachers not forced back to work

The BC government will not impose a settlement in the teachers' dispute even if there's no deal by September, the finance minister says.

Mike de Jong said that means classes won't resume after Labour Day if a settlement hasn't been reached.

"In those circumstances there will be ongoing disruption. And I know who feels the pain then — it would be the families with students."

De Jong said imposing a legislated contract hasn't worked in the past though the teachers' union has failed to negotiate settlements, unlike other public-sector unions.

"There is no rational reason or explanation for the fact that one organization has consistently been unable to accomplish what every other branch of the public sector has managed to do — not always easily and not always without some pretty acrimonious and tough negotiations."

Premier Christy Clark said Monday that the BC Teachers' Federation needs to find its way to get into a settlement zone.

Clark said she believes the union should take a lesson from other unions to resolve the nearly month-long strike.

She said the government negotiator is on the phone every week asking the teachers' union to return to the table, though B.C. Teachers' Federation president Jim Iker said no calls have been put through to him.

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