Migrant workers in Malaysia win labor suit against Goodyear

A lawyer says a Malaysian court has ruled in favor of 65 migrant workers who sued U.S. tiremaker Goodyear for underpaying them, calling it a victory for foreign employees

Malaysia Goodyear Labor Dispute
Malaysia Goodyear Labor Dispute

A Malaysian court on Thursday ruled in favor of 65 migrant workers who sued U.S. tiremaker Goodyear for underpaying them, their lawyer said, calling it a victory for foreign employees.

Chandrasegaran Rajandran said the Industrial Court agreed that the workers from Nepal India and Myanmar were entitled to benefits under a collective labor agreement that include shift allowances, annual bonuses and pay increases. The company argued that the foreigners were not represented by the labor union.

He said the plaintiffs were the third group of foreign workers to win a case against Goodyear in the Industrial Court. Goodyear Malaysia Berhad has appealed the verdicts in the earlier cases involving 119 migrant workers, with a decision due on July 26, he said. In total, the workers are claiming more than 5 million ringgit ($1.2 million) in unpaid wages, he said.

“It's a victory for migrant workers. There should be no discrimination against them," Chandrasegaran said. He said he believes the case against Goodyear is just the tip of the iceberg and hopes the victory will encourage other companies to treat their foreign workers fairly.

Goodyear officials couldn't immediately be reached for comment Friday.

Anil Kumar, one of the plaintiff, told The Associated Press that he was grateful for the court's decision. The 27-year-old Myanmar citizen, who has been working at Goodyear's factory in central Selangor state for over two years, said foreign staff got the short end of the stick.

Foreign workers get only a basic salary with overtime, while local employees have many other renumerations such as meal vouchers and extra allowances, he said.

“We are happy. Before this we felt that the Malaysian law was biased but now, we feel it's fair," he added.

Some Malaysian rubber glove makers and palm oil plantations have also come under scrutiny over allegations of using forced labor. The U.S. has banned products from the world's largest glove maker, Top Glove, as well as plantation giant Sime Darby due to allegations of forced labor.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in