Washington — Goodyear has rejected the accusations made by four members of the US House of Representatives who had expressed concerns over poor working conditions at the company's tire production plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico.
The Congress members, according to a 29 July letter to Goodyear president, CEO and chairman Richard Kramer, had been denied a visit to the plant during a fact-finding trip on labour conditions in Mexico in July.
In their letter, the representatives, led by house trade subcommittee chairman Earl Blumenauer, have requested a formal response from Goodyear regarding complaints of former workers about poor working conditions, low wages, illegal termination and discrimination at the plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, which opened in 2017.
"We are also disappointed that… Goodyear, which is shedding jobs at home while building new facilities in Mexico, is failing to provide its workers in Mexico with basic labour rights that are recognised internationally and under Mexican law," they wrote.
According to the letter, Goodyear had signed a contract with a “non-democratic ‘protection’ union” in Mexico, before “opening or hiring a single line worker.”
"Less than six months after starting its operations, conditions were so poor that workers at the plant went on a wildcat strike demanding a democratic union, higher wages and improved conditions," it said.
The letter also accused Goodyear of paying less than $2 (€1.7) per hour to junior workers at San Luis Potosi and just over $6 to the highest-paid workers.
While in Mexico in late July, the representatives met with several workers who were fired from San Luis Potosi after striking, according to the letter.
"The workers provided compelling testimony about the poor working conditions, lack of protective gear and safety and overall training provided to workers, non-reporting of hazards, deductions that are taken from already low wages, and discrimination and harassment (directed at women workers especially) at the Goodyear facility," it said.
Besides the formal response, the representatives asked for information on what percentage of tire production at San Luis Potosi is exported to the US and what effect those exports will have on Goodyear's US operations.
The representatives requested Goodyear's response within two weeks of the date of the letter.
Goodyear officials could not be reached for comment.
In a statement, Goodyear acknowledged receiving the letter.
"We strongly disagree with the statements made about our working conditions and labour practices, and expect to provide a comprehensive response to the letter within the allotted time-frame," the company said.