May 25, 2024

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. will cease operations at its Malaysia plant June 30, the company confirmed to the Beacon Journal on Friday.

The closure of the plant in the Shah Alam district of Malaysia’s Selangor’s state, first reported by Reuters late Thursday will put about 550 employees out of work, the news agency said, citing the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA).

Goodyear told the Beacon Journal it expects the closure to be completed by the end of 2024.

“These decisions are not made lightly and we remain committed to treating our associates with care and respect,” the company said in a statement. “We will continue to serve the Malaysia market with our industry-leading products and solutions from other manufacturing sites within Goodyear’s footprint.”

News of the closing comes weeks after Mark Stewart joined Goodyear as its president and CEO — replacing Richard Kramer, who announced his retirement in November.

Following a comprehensive strategic review, Goodyear last year said it would pursue cost reductions to help cut its debt.

Goodyear said in its Friday statement to the Beacon Journal the closure in Malaysia plant is part of the company’s effort to cut costs by $1 billion by 2025, “ensuring we remain competitive and positioned as an industry leader.”

Goodyear has been working with the Malaysian government to help affected workers seek new jobs and training, Reuters reported.

American companies operating in Southeast Asia have long faced scrutiny about human rights protections and unfair labor practices, and Goodyear’s Malaysian operation had been a target of some complaints.

In 2022, Goodyear agreed to pay a group of migrant workers in Malaysia an undisclosed sum to settle claims of not paying wages or benefits, Reuters and the Beacon Journal reported at the time.

In March 2023, Goodyear updated its Global Human Rights Policy. Aspects of the policy highlighted on Goodyear’s corporate website include:

  • Prohibition of forced labor and child labor.

  • Commitment to safe working conditions, including prohibition of violence and harassment; no tolerance of discrimination; respect of privacy; and compliance with “laws, regulations, and collective agreements (whichever affords greater protection) related to wages and hours worked.”

  • Recognition of workers’ rights to collectively bargain through unions and other organizations.

  • A 24/7 hotline for workers and associates to issue concerns.

Goodyear launched its Malaysian tire-making operations in 1961, according to the company’s history webpage, and has expanded there several times over the decades since then. The Shah Alam plant opened in 1972.

This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Goodyear’s Malaysia plant closing will leave 550 jobless, report says

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