In Malaysia, tire manufacturer Goodyear was charged with wage arrears and threats | | Automotive Industry News

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According to court documents and complaints submitted by workers, the American tire manufacturer Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company faces charges of unpaid wages, illegal overtime and threats to foreign workers at its Malaysian factory.

In an interview with Reuters, six current and former foreign workers, as well as officials from the Malaysian Ministry of Labor, stated that Goodyear had erroneously deducted wages, required excessive working hours, and did not allow workers to obtain full passports.

The department confirmed that it had fined Goodyear in 2020 for overwork and low wages of its foreign employees. A former employee stated that the company had illegally retained his passport and showed Reuters the confirmation letter he signed in January 2020 when he retrieved it after working at Goodyear for eight years.

The allegations, first reported by Reuters, first surfaced when 185 foreign workers filed three complaints against Goodyear Malaysia in the country’s industrial courts, two of which were in 2019 and one in 2020, because they were not. Comply with collective labor agreements. The workers claimed that even though local employees (represented by the union) could enjoy these benefits, the company did not provide them with shift allowances, annual bonuses and salary increases.

According to a copy of the judgment published on the court’s website, the court ruled in two cases last year that foreign workers won the case, saying that they have the same rights as Malaysian employees. According to the verdict and the workers’ lawyers, Goodyear was ordered to pay wages and abide by the collective agreement.

According to lawyers, approximately 150 workers’ pay slips have been submitted to the court as evidence of unpaid wages and reviewed by Reuters, showing that some immigrants work as much as 229 hours of overtime per month, exceeding the 104-hour limit in Malaysia.

‘Discrimination’

Their lawyer, Chandra Segaran Rajandran, said the foreign workers demanded an unpaid wage of about RM5 million (US$1.21 million). These workers are from Nepal, Myanmar and India.

He said: “They are placed in a situation where all their rights (of the law) are deprived.” He added that this amounts to “discrimination.”

Goodyear Malaysia stated that foreign workers are not entitled to the same benefits as non-union members [File: Tom Brenner/Reuters]

Goodyear, one of the world’s largest tire manufacturers, has challenged these two judgments in the High Court. The appeal decision is expected to be made on July 26. The judgment in the third case will be made in the next few weeks and will involve the same issues.

Goodyear declined to comment on any allegations, citing court proceedings. According to a court ruling last year, Goodyear Malaysia argued that foreign workers are not entitled to the benefits of collective agreements because they are not members of a trade union.

According to the ruling, a trade union representative testified that foreign workers are eligible to join and have the right to enjoy the benefits in the collective agreement, even if they are not members. The court agreed that the scope of work of foreign workers entitles them to these benefits.

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

“We take seriously any allegations of misconduct related to our employees, operations and supply chain,” a representative said in an email.

The union-the National Rubber Products Manufacturing Company Employees Union-did not respond to Reuters’ request for comment on the workers’ complaints.

Goodyear’s business in Malaysia is co-owned by Permodalan Nasional Berhad, the country’s largest fund manager, who made an inquiry to Goodyear.

After the lawsuit, intimidation

Workers said they faced Goodyear intimidation after filing a lawsuit. Goodyear declined to comment.

“The company has different rules for different types of workers,” said Sharan Kumar Rai, who filed one of the lawsuits and worked at Goodyear Malaysia from 2012 to last year.

The foreign workers filed the first two lawsuits in July 2019. Soon after, Goodyear asked some people to sign letters without their lawyers’ knowledge, stating that they would withdraw from legal proceedings. According to their lawyers, a police complaint filed in October 2019 and a copy of this file seen by Reuters. Letter. Reporting to the police does not always lead to criminal charges, but it may lead to investigations.

Anna Ng Fui Choo, chairman of the Industrial Court, stated in her ruling that the letter was “an unfair labor practice”.

The Ministry of Labor of Malaysia told Reuters that it has investigated and accused Goodyear of 9 violations of the labor law in 2020 that have nothing to do with litigation, involving overtime work and wrongful wage deductions. It said it fined Goodyear 41,500 ringgits (US$10,050).

In recent years, Malaysia’s own Ministry of Human Resources and US authorities have accused its factories of abusing workers, which rely on millions of migrant workers to produce everything from palm oil to medical gloves and iPhone components.



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