bctfThe Canadian Press

Vancouver: British Columbia’s striking teachers are turning up the pressure in their ongoing labour dispute by overwhelmingly endorsing a third-party resolution process that’s been repeatedly rejected by the provincial government.

Teachers’ union president Jim Iker says 99.4 per cent of the 30,699 teachers who cast ballots on September 10 voted in favour of ending the strike through binding arbitration.

He says the provincial government’s refusal to accept the process is the only reason children won’t be back in class on Thursday morning.

The government has said binding arbitration could be expensive for taxpayers because a settlement awarded to B.C. doctors more than a decade ago prompted a tax hike.

Earlier in the day, nine unions banded together to announce $8 million in interest-free loans for financially struggling members of the B.C. Teachers’ Federation.

Dozens of picketing teachers also protested in Maple Ridge, where their loud chanting penetrated Premier Christy Clark’s remarks at a municipal event.

© 2014 The Canadian Press