MALAYSIA: The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have questioned Malaysia-based employees of Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. about their working and living conditions, following on a police complaint on alleged threats from Goodyear staff, workplace accidents, and court cases information they filed against the company.
DHS’s probe stemmed from the 185 migrant workers’ allegations against Goodyear Malaysia in the country's industrial court in 2019 and 2020. The workers from Nepal, India, and Myanmar complained of unpaid wages worth USD121 million, non-compliance with a collective agreement, wrongful deductions, and threats.
This could lead to the tire maker’s US prosecution, in addition to the related lawsuits and ongoing investigations by the Malaysian and US regulators, with each digging deeply into possible work exploitation.
Goodyear, in a statement, said: "Goodyear and Goodyear Malaysia are currently undertaking a thorough review of the matter, including retaining an independent social auditing firm to inspect working and housing conditions."
The court ordered the tire company in June 2020 to pay back wages to some workers and follow the collective agreement.
Goodyear filed an appeal and has settled with the workers involved in the labour dispute. According to Goodyear, foreign workers are not entitled to the benefits included in the collective agreement because they are not part of the union.
The Malaysian labour department served fines for Goodyear in 2020 due to the allegations of foreign employees.
Goodyear’s 2020 Corporate Responsibility Report states that it is taking "measures to prevent and eliminate forced labour in our direct supply chain."
The tire manufacturer operates 46 facilities with approximately 61,000 full- and part-time workers from 21 countries.