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American tire company falls flat on workers’ rights

  • Published on
    June 1, 2021
  • News Source Image
  • Category:
    Forced Labor, Supply Chain, Worker Empowerment
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American tire giant Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. has been taken to court by its Malaysian factory foreign workers on charges of wrongful salary deductions, unlawful overtime and threatening and denying foreign workers full access to their passports.

Reuters reports,

About 150 worker payslips, which the lawyer said were submitted to the court as evidence of unpaid wages and reviewed by Reuters, showed some migrants working as many as 229 hours a month in overtime, exceeding the Malaysian limit of 104 hours.

This isn’t the first time Goodyear is facing complaints about employee abuse. In 2020, the Malaysian labor department fined Goodyear over 9 labor law violations related to underpaying workers and forcing them to work excessive hours. It fined Goodyear USD 10,050.

Further, 185 foreign workers filed three complaints against Goodyear in 2019 and 2020, winning the first two. The third is to be decided this July. All three are related to the same issues as well Goodyear applying different work standards for foreign workers versus their local staff.

The workers alleged the company was not giving them shift allowances, annual bonuses and pay increases even though these benefits were available to the local staff, who are represented by a labor union.

While telling Reuters that they “take seriously any allegations of improper behavior relating to our associates, operations and supply chain,” Goodyear is appealing the cases they lost.

But the rights violations are dire.

According to Reuters,

One former worker said the company illegally kept his passport, showing Reuters an acknowledgement letter he signed in January 2020 upon getting it back eight years after he started working at Goodyear.

For a company that makes billions of dollars, it is unthinkable that they cannot treat their workers, who enable to reap such profits, with the bare minimum of decency.

Goodyear is an American company and should be answerable to the U.S. department of labor for its conduct in its factories elsewhere. This is one of the reasons the Freedom United community is calling for the U.S., U.K. and the E.U. to enact mandatory human rights due diligence legislation.

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