Saab ‘s main white collar union says the automaker may have a “hard question to answer” as both it and suppliers battle to secure outstanding wages and payments. 

The automaker is declining to say if it has to come down in favour of either its labour bodies or component makers but, following non-payment of August salaries to its staff, Unionen has raised the possibility of potential conflict between the two parties. 

“One thing that is difficult this month is other suppliers already have acted against Saab,” Unionen chief legal adviser Martin Waestfelt told just-auto from Sweden. “You have to decide which suppliers or employees should get the money. If they [Saab] get finance but not for all, it could be a hard question to answer.”

Unionen has also has formally written to the automaker detailing August wage arrears, with the threat of bankruptcy proceedings potentially still hanging over the manufacturer.

The union – representing around 1,000 management staff at Saab – says it expects a reply at some point today (31 August) but should August salaries not be paid within seven days a train of action could be set in motion to potentially seek the automaker’s bankruptcy.

“I visited Saab on Monday (29 August) and the temperature from our members is more pessimistic than earlier,” said Waestfelt. “When I met 200 members – no-one said it is the first thing to do to claim for bankruptcy but everyone accepts it is necessary if Saab does not pay.

Saab is declining to elaborate if it has to make a choice between suppliers or staff payments, preferring to note it wants to settle arrears with all stakeholders.

“We are doing everything in our power to be able to pay all our commitments,” a Saab spokeswoman in Sweden told just-auto.

“When it comes to suppliers, most of them in the majority of cases we are having that dialogue. There are some suppliers that have chosen to get [the] enforcement agency as their step forward.”

Both sets of parties owed money by Saab could have recourse to different bodies in Sweden to recoup outstanding finance.

The suppliers are dealing with debt enforcement agency Kronofogden, while unions could deal with a district court should Saab not be able to settle staff arrears for August.