Saab's main blue collar union says "nobody is shocked" at the automaker's announcement this week it will cull 500 jobs as it looks to save around US$155m.

The Swedish automaker has a workforce of nearly 4,000 at its Trollhattan plant but, because it has barely produced a car since April, urgently needs to address staffing levels now its future looks far more secured under new proposed Chinese ownership.

"Of course it is really sad and hard when our members lose their jobs, but nobody is shocked," IF Metall legal adviser Darko Davidovic told just-auto from Sweden. "When I talk to people who really know about this, they say they need this kind of staff.

"It is not really 500 as some people have already quit. Now the next step is to negotiate about these people."

Davidovic was at the creditors meeting in Vanersborg this week that allowed Saab to continue its bankruptcy protection and at which the proposed new Chinese owners, Youngman and Pang Da, were present. The union legal adviser highlighted what he said was their seriousness concerning the deal.

"The chairmen of Pang Da and Youngman really talked about their commitment... and all the money," he said. "They were talking about start[ing] a plant in China for the Chinese market.

"So of course [I] think about the situation last week and the situation today - it is really [a] totally another situation. It is like always [however]. Nothing is done until it is done."

Davidovic also revealed all the October salaries to Saab staff had now been paid in full. There had been a period from 21 October - when the Swedish State's wage guarantee obligations to the manufacturer's employees finished and the end of the month - but the union confirmed all monies had now been received.

IF Metall added it had requested the Vanersborg district court appoint a committee to oversee the financial transition period as the prospective Chinese partners take over Saab and pay off its debts.

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