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Mediator for teachers, govt

Veteran mediator Vince Ready is making himself available in an attempt to end the acrimonious dispute involving British Columbia's public school teachers.

A joint statement from the B.C. Teachers' Federation and the B.C. Public School Employers' Association says Ready met separately with the parties on Wednesday and has indicated his availability this week and later in August.

The union says Ready will monitor the situation and has agreed to resume exploratory talks, or even full mediation if he believes it will be productive.

Both the employer and the union have agreed to shut down public discussion pending further talks with Ready.

The province's 40,000 teachers began strike action two weeks before the end of the school year, calling for higher wages and improved class sizes and composition.

The government says teachers' wages must be in line with other public-sector workers if a settlement is to be reached.

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