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U.S. tire maker Goodyear faces allegations of labor abuse in Malaysia, documents say Reuters

© Reuters. A woman sitting at a bus stop outside the Goodyear factory in Shah Alam, Malaysia, May 6, 2021. REUTERS / Lim Huey Teng


By Mei Mei Chu and A. Ananthalakshmi

[Kuala Lumpur 2nd Reuters]–According to court documents and worker complaints, US tire maker Goodyear Tire and Rubber has unpaid wages and illegal overtime for foreign workers working in Malaysian factories. Faced with suspicion of threat

In an interview with Reuters, six current and former foreign workers and Malaysian Labor Department officials said Goodyear had unfair salary deductions, required excessive working hours and workers had full access to their passports. He said he refused to do so.

The ministry admitted that in 2020 Goodyear was fined foreign employees for overwork and low wages. A former employee said he had illegally kept his passport and showed Reuters a letter of approval signed in January 2020, which he received eight years after he started working at Goodyear.

Reuters first reported that 185 foreign workers filed two complaints against Goodyear Malaysia in 2019 and one in 2020 over the default of collective bargaining agreements, a total of three complaints in the country’s industrial court. First surfaced when submitted to. Workers argued that the company did not give them shift allowances, annual bonuses, or salary increases, even though local staff represented by trade unions could take advantage of these benefits.

According to a copy of the ruling posted on the court’s website, the court ruled in favor of foreign workers in two proceedings last year, stating that they have the same rights as Malaysian employees. According to the judgment and the workers’ lawyers, Goodyear was ordered to repay the wages and comply with the labor agreement.

According to lawyers, the pay slips of about 150 workers, submitted to court as evidence of unpaid wages and confirmed by Reuters, show 229 hours of overtime a month, exceeding the Malaysian limit of 104 hours. It turns out that some immigrants are there.

Foreign workers are claiming about 5 million ringgit ($ 1.21 million) as unpaid wages, said their lawyer, Chandra Segaran Rajandran. Workers come from Nepal, Myanmar and India.

“They are in a situation where they are denied full rights as prescribed (by law),” he added, adding that it is equivalent to “discrimination.”

Goodyear, one of the world’s largest tire manufacturers, has challenged both decisions in the High Court. The appeal decision is scheduled for July 26. A verdict in a third case on the same issue is scheduled for the coming weeks.

Goodyear declined to comment on any of the allegations because of court proceedings. According to a court ruling last year, Goodyear Malaysia claimed that foreign workers were not eligible to benefit from collective bargaining agreements because they were not members.

According to the ruling, union representatives testified that foreign workers, even if they were not members, were eligible to join the union and were entitled to the benefits of collective bargaining agreements. The court agreed that the scope of work of foreign workers is eligible for these benefits to foreign workers.

Goodyear told Reuters that it has strong human rights policies and practices.

In an email, the representative said, “We take allegations of inappropriate behavior related to our employees, businesses and supply chains seriously.

The union-the National Rubber Products Manufacturing Employees’ Union-has not responded to Reuters’ request for comment on worker complaints.

Goodyear’s business in Malaysia was co-owned by Permodalan Nacional Belhad, the country’s largest fund manager, and contacted Goodyear.

Fines and violations

Workers said they faced threats from Goodyear after filing the proceedings. Goodyear declined to comment.

“The company had different rules for different workers,” said Sharan Kumar Rai, who filed a lawsuit and worked for Goodyear in Malaysia from 2012 to last year.

Foreign workers filed the first two proceedings in July 2019. Shortly thereafter, Goodyear asked to sign a letter to withdraw from the proceedings without the knowledge of a lawyer. 2019 A police proceeding filed in October and a copy of it, a letter seen by Reuters. Reporting a complaint to the police does not necessarily result in criminal liability, but it can trigger an investigation.

Anna Ng Hui Chu, chairman of the Industrial Court, said in a ruling that the letter was “unfair labor practice.”

The Malaysian Labor Department has charged Reuters with Goodyear investigating and prosecuting nine unrelated labor law violations in 2020. Goodyear was fined 41,500 ringgit ($ 10,050).

Malaysia has recently relied on millions of immigrant workers to manufacture everything from palm oil to medical gloves to iPhone parts, from its HR ministry and US authorities, working in factories. Facing accusations of abuse.

($ 1 = 4.1255 ringgit)

U.S. tire maker Goodyear faces allegations of labor abuse in Malaysia, documents say Reuters U.S. tire maker Goodyear faces allegations of labor abuse in Malaysia, documents say Reuters

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