Key Saab unions, suppliers and Swedish tax representatives are to meet the automaker at 17:00 today [Sweden, 29 November) in the manufacturer’s home city of Trollhattan as crisis talks to rescue the company appear on a knife edge.
The IF Metall union successfully applied to the Court to see up a ‘debt committee’ consisting of unions, three Saab suppliers and a tax authority delegate to oversee the manufacturer’s proposed transition back to production, but continued late salary payments will now see the body meet in emergency session.
It is the salary issue that is concentrating minds at Saab’s largest unions, whose members have endured a roller-coaster six months of late wages and massive uncertainty concerning any production restart.
“The money has not come through yet,” IF Metall legal adviser Darko Davidovic told just-auto from Sweden. At 17:00 we will have a meeting with the company and [Saab administrator] Guy Lofalk to see about the latest, about how they have tried to agree something with GM.”
“After that we have to make a decision about how we will act tomorrow. If we don’t have any reason to believe the money is on the way…then we have to start filing for this company to pay the fee and wait seven days. Then probably it seems we have to talk to Lofalk and tell him to abort the reconstruction.”
Despite the dire nature of Saab’s predicament that has also seen Saab GB file for administration today, IF Metall did offer a tiny chink of hope that former parent General Motors’ stance might be softening. GM has so far taken a hard line on any future licencing arrangements should Saab pass into 100% Chinese control.
It appears Saab in Sweden has told IF Metall that GM has mentioned there could be “a couple of openings,” although the nature of these have not been divulged. IF Metall is hoping further light can be shed when it has a video conference with Saab at 16:00 today, ahead of the debt committee meeting.