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The union representing BC Ferries workers is calling on the company to halt what it says is a staggering amount of workplace abuse.

In a new campaign, the BC Ferry and Marine Workers' Union says 82 per cent of workers surveyed have reported suffering abuse from passengers.

That abuse includes "threats, harassment, or physical violence from passengers," the union said on its website, and more than half of workers say it affects their mental health.

"Worse still, BC Ferries doesn't always stand up for their workers – in some cases, management even rewards abusive passengers," the union said.

It's demanding the company implement a zero-tolerance policy and is encouraging passengers to even tweet BC Ferries about it.

BC Ferries issued a statement in response to the campaign, saying it already has zero tolerance for abuse of employees.

"Abusive conduct or comments will not be tolerated and may result in a denial of service," the company said. 

It cited its "Respect in the Workplace" policy that states all workers will be treated with "dignity and respect, free of discrimination."

BC Ferries said if any of its employees raises concerns or complaints about abusive passengers, those cases are investigated "as fairly, quickly and effectively as possible while maintaining the confidentiality of those concerned as far as this is possible." Occasionally, police may be called to handle incidents if needed.

The company said it's also in the process of posting signs at ferry terminals reminding passengers they may be denied service if they abuse staff.

Last week, the union released a campaign video showing what it says is a common, even daily, theme – a passenger screaming at a ticket booth attendant after being told he cannot board the next ferry.