SWEDEN: IF Metall to claim for salaries as talk rises of US$741m loan request
Saab's main blue collar union IF Metall is to put in its claim for overdue salaries as speculation mounts in Sweden that the automaker's CEO Victor Muller has asked an unnamed Chinese bank for a loan of SEK5bn (US$741m).
Although IF Metall stressed its claim was not for bankruptcy, while Saab remained in protection, administrator Guy Lofalk today (7 December) asked for the manufacturer's voluntary reorganisation status to be lifted, a request which, if granted, could lead to a bankruptcy filing.
"We have started the clock ticking for this," IF Metall legal adviser Darko Davidovic told just-auto. "We send the claim for the salaries first, not for bankruptcy. As it seems for now, it does not look good. Everyone is talking about some kind of deal with [the] Chinese and different banks, but nothing has happened.
"As long as nothing has happened, we have to act. We hoped something would come out, but for now it is nothing."
The Swedish speculation has raised the possibility of Muller asking for the SEK5bn loan from an unnamed bank in what is presumably a bid to circumnavigate former Saab owner General Motors' objections to a revised control structure put forward recently.
Saab has also quashed rumours Muller was due to make a market statement this afternoon. "It was getting morphed into something bigger than it was," a Saab spokeswoman told just-auto from Sweden. "It is just a normal internal update meeting."
The IF Metall legal adviser confirmed should Saab go bankrupt, salaries would be paid in a pot of SEK171,000 per employee believed to be divided by the normal monthly wage.
"The company says there are things on the way," Davidovic said. "They say they will try to do it as quickly as possible.
"We have heard a lot of things, so we just hope for all our members the best thing is they can solve the problem, but for now it does not look good.