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Goodyear Tire loses case against foreign workers in Malaysia over alleged labor abuse

Photo by: Airwolfhound/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Goodyear Tire, the American tire and rubber manufacturing company, loses in a case filed by foreign employees in Malaysia. The Industrial Court in the said country ruled in favor of the workers over allegations of unjust labor practices and discrimination.

As per Reuters, the court documents related to the Goodyear Tire versus the foreign workers it employs were said to have been revealed on Thursday, June 10, and it found the tire maker guilty of not paying and mistreating its migrant staff who are mostly working in the company’s factory in Malaysia.

The Malaysian Industrial Court’s decision

Based on the report, about 250 foreign workers filed several complaints against the Malaysian unit of Goodyear. They have stated five claims that they said happened from 2019 to 2020. The employees are asking for 5 million ringgit, or around $1.21 million that they said is for their unpaid wages.

The workers added that Goodyear Malaysia failed to comply with the collective labor agreement, and this made their working conditions really difficult. Some of the main complaints forwarded by the workers to court include the lack of pay increase, no overtime pay, and no bonuses, even if these are commonly given to local employees.

The complainants are being represented by a labor union, so they have good backing. In any case, Goodyear contends that the foreign workers do not have legal rights to file a complaint because they are actually not members of the union. The migrant employees are from India, Myanmar, and Nepal.

Now, in the rulings that were released on Thursday, Industrial Court President Rasidah Chik rejected Goodyear's argument and ordered it to pay back the wages it owed from the workers. He also asked the tire maker to comply with the collective agreement.

"It is clear that the complainants have proved that all of them are covered within the scope of the collective agreement and thus they are eligible to receive the benefits provided," the Industrial Court president said. The workers’ lawyer, Chandra Segaran Rajandran, added, "This is just the tip of the iceberg albeit a significant milestone in the treatment of migrant workers in this company."

The complaints slapped against Goodyear Malaysia

Aljazeera previously reported that Goodyear Malaysia was accused of imposing unlawful overtime work for the migrant workers, and they were said to be not properly paid as well. In addition, they said that they were also threatened and denied access to their own passports.

It was said that the labor department in Malaysia already fined Goodyear in 2020 for related offenses regarding underpayment and overworking of foreign factory workers. When more workers decided to come out and express their complaints, it led to the filing of cases in the industrial court.

Now Goodyear is appealing the court’s decision while also awaiting the verdict on a third case. The decision on the company’s appeal is expected to be released in July. 26

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