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BC Ferries union wants zero-tolerance policy to stop harassment

Last Updated Jun 28, 2019 at 1:00 pm PDT

(Hana Mae Nassar, NEWS 1130 Photo)

BC Ferry and Marine Workers' Union wants a zero-tolerance policy to protect their members.

They've been trying to get BC Ferries to implement changes for over two years.

A survey recently found more than eight-in-ten workers had dealt with abuse.

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – BC Ferries employees say they’ve faced abuse from passengers including threats, harassment and even physical violence.

Workers have been trying to convince BC Ferries for more than two years of the problem. Now, they are pushing for the company to enforce a zero-tolerance policy, with their union launching a campaign.

The BC Ferry and Marine Workers’ Union claims a survey recently found more than eight-in-ten workers had dealt with abuse, and more than half say it’s bad enough that it affects their mental health.

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Kevin Lee, provincial first vice president of the union, says BC Ferries must do more for their employees.

“It’s time for BC Ferries to protect its workers and enforce a zero-tolerance policy for worker abuse,” says Lee. “This should include clear communication to the public that BC Ferries will deny service to abusive passengers.”

The union wants a policy that defines workplace violence, including verbal abuse, visibly posted.

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“The travelling public understands abusive behaviour is not tolerated in air travel,” says Lee. “We want BC Ferries to enforce that same standard of respect for ferry travel not simply reserve the right to refuse passage.”

Right now, the BC Ferries website only says the “Company reserves the right to refuse passage to any person who appears to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or whose conduct is unsafe, unlawful or considered to be objectionable.”

Zero tolerance policies have become the norm in many other organizations throughout Canada, says the union. They add that these policies are posted in places visible to customers.