Goodyear declined to comment on any of the allegations, citing the court process. According to the court ruling last year, Goodyear Malaysia argued that foreign workers are not entitled to the benefits of the collective agreement because they are not union members. According to the ruling, a union representative testified that foreign workers are eligible to join and are entitled to the benefits in the collective agreement even if they are not members. The court agreed that the foreign workers' job scope entitled them to those benefits. Goodyear told Reuters it has strong policies and practices relating to and protecting human rights. "We take seriously any allegations of improper behaviour relating to our associates, operations and supply chain," a representative said in an email. The union - the National Union of Employees in Companies Manufacturing Rubber Products did not respond to Reuters' requests for comment on the workers' complaints. Goodyear's Malaysia operation is jointly owned by the country's largest fund manager, Permodalan Nasional Berhad, which directed queries to Goodyear. FINES AND VIOLATIONS Workers said they faced intimidation from Goodyear after they filed the lawsuits. Goodyear declined to comment. "The company had different rules for different sets of workers," said Sharan Kumar Rai, who filed one of the lawsuits and worked at Goodyear in Malaysia from 2012 until last year. The foreign workers filed the first two lawsuits in July 2019. Soon afterward, Goodyear asked some to sign letters, without their lawyer’s knowledge, that they would withdraw from the legal action, according to their lawyer, police complaints filed in October 2019 and a copy of the letter seen by Reuters. Reporting a complaint to police does not always result in criminal charges but can trigger an investigation. Industrial court chairman Anna Ng Fui Choo said in her ruling that the letter "was an act of unfair labour practice". Malaysia's labour department told Reuters it had investigated and charged Goodyear in 2020 over nine violations of labour laws, unrelated to the lawsuits, regarding excessive hours and wrongful salary deductions. It fined Goodyear 41,500 ringgit ($10,050), it said. Malaysia has in recent years faced accusations from its own Human Resources Ministry and authorities in the United States of labour abuse at its factories, which rely on millions of migrant workers to manufacture everything from palm oil to medical gloves and iPhone components.

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