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SWEDEN: [Updated] Saab approaches crunch point as unions wait for salaries

By Simon Warburton | 28 November 2011

Saab appears to be approaching crunch point as its main blue collar union says the administrator could "act"  tomorrow (29 November) unless salaries are paid.

IF Metall wages were due last Friday, while white collar union employees have a deadline of today and management tomorrow to see salaries settled, but the matter may be taken out of the labour bodies' hands by the administrator handling Saab's bankruptcy protection, Guy Lofalk.

A Saab spokesman noted the company was "very much aware" it had to pay salaries, but could not specify when they would be in bank accounts.

"If they don't have the money for salaries, they don't have the money for anything," IF Metall legal advisor Darko Davidovic told just-auto from Sweden.

"[At] 4 O'clock tomorrow is very important for the total Saab. If no-one will get any salary at all tomorrow, then he has to act."

IF Metall is due to speak to its local representatives in Saab's headquarters in Trollhattan this afternoon as well as to the automaker, which has told the labour body proposed Chinese investors Youngman and Pang Da were due to pay salaries today.

Should no actual money be in the bank accounts, the Chinese could equally provide an indication that a transaction would be in place ready to see wages transfered to Saab's almost 4,000-strong workforce.

"After 16:00 [Sweden], we will talk with the local representatives and the company to see what has happened during the day," said Davidovic."

However, any action by the union to press for Saab's bankruptcy may be overtaken by what the administrator decides.

IF Metall has a procedure it will follow, but says if no finance is forthcoming in the next two to three days, Lofalk could apply to have the reconstruction status lifted.

"We are very much aware we have to pay salaries," a Saab spokesman told just-auto. "We are making progress, but we don't want to speculate on when that will come.

"We are always talking to the partners in this, including GM, because we need to find somehow a solution where all the parties are satisfied."

The administrator was not immediately available for comment.