SWEDEN: Saab union derides government unemployment efforts as "political garbage."
Saab's largest blue-collar union has slammed efforts by the Swedish government to provide the right environment for redundant staff to find new jobs as "political garbage."
The IF Metall union, representing 1,500 staff out of a total 4,000 Saab employees, says its members' money guaranteed by the Swedish State is due to run out next month, with the majority of its workers remaining unemployed.
Some efforts have been made by government officials to reassure jobless workers, with senior representatives travelling to Saab's home town of Trollhattan in Western Sweden to announce measures designed to alleviate what is fast becoming a major unemployment headache.
Some SEK90m has been pledged by politicians from the Swedish Social Democratic Party to fund transport opportunities for Trollhattan residents, such as express buses, new inland bus services and more train stops to allow improved links to nearby Norway in particular.
A Social Democratic Party spokeswoman recently told just-auto there would be also be what she referred to as "enhanced commuting opportunities" from Trollhattan to Volvo's home of Gothenburg, but IF Metall has slammed the politician's efforts as inadequate.
"The government has said it will do something, but from my point of view it is political garbage," IF Metall legal adviser Darko Davidovic told just-auto from Sweden. "We [government] will look into it and see what we can do. Seriously, 'look into it.'
"Most of them [IF Metall members] are still unemployed and in the area around Trollhattan, two months ago, the second largest employer went into bankruptcy. The area is more than 20% unemployed now - we are normally used to 4%-5%. [Saab] bankruptcy was on 19 December and seriously, now they are talking about looking into something?"
The apparent lack of political will is compounded for IF Metall by its insistence not enough is being done by bankrupt Saab's receivers to ensure work records are made available for blue-collar staff to find new jobs.
Davidovic says there is no-one to process work history records at the receivers, despite a vast team of 55 lawyers employed to find a new purchaser for Saab.
The Swedish government has however, countered IF Metall's jobs stance, insisting it has provided concrete aid to the Trollhattan region.
"Just before Christmas the government...announced we will help the region," a Swedish Enterprise Ministry spokeswoman told just-auto. "It was close to SEK500m for action for employment resources and such things.
"I know the [Saab] engineers have been very attractive for other companies and there are things going on in the region right now."