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Migrant workers in Malaysia win labour suit against Goodyear


KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — 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 labour agreement that include shift allowances, annual bonuses and pay increases. The company argued that the foreigners were not represented by the labour union.

He said the plaintiffs were the third group of foreign workers to win a case against Goodyear in the Industrial Court. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. 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 (US$1.2 million) in unpaid wages, he said.

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“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.

Some Malaysian rubber glove makers and palm oil plantations have also come under scrutiny over allegations of using forced labour. 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 labour.