Saab’s main blue collar union IF Metall says it is in “continuous contact” with the automaker’s other main unions as the manufacturer enters its second day of talks with Chinese investors who have already injected US$7.5m.
Those proposals seemed to have been dashed by General Motors’ insistence it would not continue with existing technology licences or the supply of 9-4X vehicles, if there was a change of control, but the Swedes and Chinese have now reconvened to attempt to thrash out a solution as new wage deadlines loom.
IF Metall, along with Saab’s other unions, have seen their members’ salaries guaranteed by the Swedish state for three months but that money ran out on 21 October with November’s salaries now starting to occupy the labour bodies’ thoughts.
“We have continuous contact with [the] unions, but we are all in the same situation because we don’t know what is going on,” IF Metall legal adviser Darko Davidovic told just-auto from Sweden. “Of course this is a stressed situation.
“Something was not right because GM did not want to talk with us, did not want to give us any answers about anything. So the thing we try to do now is to get as much information as we can – we know there have been conversations between Saab, Youngman and Pang Da yesterday (8 November) and they are going to talk today also.”
Davidovic revealed the Chinese had put in SEK50m (US$7.5m) which, based on previous union estimates of Saab’s monthly wage bill, would just about cover the automaker’s almost 4,000 strong workforce salary requirements.
IF Metall members’ next due wage date is 26 November but Davidovic noted a meeting was due four days previously to demonstrate how Saab would pay its suppliers who are owed around EUR150m.
Speculation has centred on whether talks between the Chinese and Swedish parties could focus on tweaking the proposed new ownership structure. In its present guise, the deal envisaged manufacturer Youngman taking a 60% share and distributor Pang Da 40%.
Despite GM saying it could not allow the new Saab owners to license its technology if there was a change of control, the US automaker nonetheless noted it was prepared to continue supplying powertrains and components.
Youngman was not immediately available for comment.