Total wages owed by Saab to its employees for July could be as much as SEK55m (US$8.7m) according to one of the automaker’s major labour bodies.

Unionen – representing around 500,000 members in Sweden and around 1,000 of Saab’s white collar workers who have gone unpaid for last month – gave the estimate as it prepared to deliver a letter to Saab this week detailing salary arrears.

The SEK55m figure is made up from Unionen members as well as other labour bodies within Saab and non-aligned staff and comes on top of an estimated SEK100m that Saab was thought to owe its employees – including blue collar employees – when it last had salary problems in June.

“We have to act to give this letter tomorrow (3 August) or Thursday morning,” Unionen chief legal advisor Martin Waestfelt told just-auto from Sweden. “It is necessary to give the paper by law and have somebody sign the letter from Saab. After that they have seven days to pay or say something is wrong.

“The facts in the letter, I think Saab will accept it is the right information. We have the possibility to go to the District Court and claim for bankruptcy, but we are not obliged to go directly, we could wait for some days if we want.”

Despite the imminent sending of the letter to Saab, Waestfelt cited the fact white collar staff were continuing to work at the manufacturer as proof of employee loyalty to the troubled brand, whose Trollhattan factory continues to remain shut.

“Some people start to hesitate, but most of our members are still hopeful,” added the chief legal advisor. “If I compare other companies in Sweden with the same problem, it is common employees don’t have the energy to fulfil the work.”