Saab to staff: go home for two more weeks

While production at cash-strapped Swedish automaker Saab's factory will be down for two more weeks, the company needs the 800 suppliers to accept their repayment scheme by today in order to re-start production in July.

Saab to staff: go home for two more weeks

Assembly line workers were informed at a Monday meeting that they would not be needed back at work until Monday, July 4, several Swedish media said.

To pick up the pace quickly once production starts again, the factory will only close for two weeks over the summer holidays, postponing two holiday weeks until later in the year, spokeswoman Gunilla Gustavs told news agency TT.

“What’s important for us is to return to production, and what is needed for

that is to get an agreement with the suppliers for the material to be delivered to the plant in a coordinated way,” she said in an interview with Sveriges Radio (SR).

Saab’s main factory stood still for over seven weeks during April and May as suppliers halted their deliveries to Saab over unpaid bills.

Production started up again on May 27 but stopped again on June 8 when the

company complained it was missing components for the assembly line.

Last week, Saab’s Dutch owner Spyker announced it planned to hand over majority control of Saab to two Chinese companies, distributor Pang Da Automobile and car manufacturer Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile, in a bid to secure last-ditch rescue funding.

While observers hailed the deal, which also boosted Spyker’s share price, they cautioned it might not go through quickly enough to secure the desperately-needed short-term cash Saab needs to stay afloat.

Saab, which employs 3,800 people, was rescued at the last minute in early 2010 when tiny Dutch company Spyker bought it for 400 million dollars from US auto giant General Motors.

After initial optimistic statements and production forecasts, Spyker and Saab have recently been scrambling to pull together enough cash to keep production going and suppliers happy.

Saab wants an answer from 800 suppliers latest by today if they will accept the proposed payment plan of 10 percent of the monies owed to start supplying the carmaker with the parts they need to re-start production.

“We need a positive answer from all of them in order to be able to coordinate a start in the beginning of July,” said Gustavs to news agency TT.

Saab promised to begin paying back the rest of the monies owed in the autumn.

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Trollhättan remembers school attack victims

Hundreds of people on Saturday turned out for a torchlight procession in the small town of Trollhättan in southwestern Sweden to honour the victims of last year’s deadly school attack there.

Trollhättan remembers school attack victims
'It was an attack on all of Sweden,' Education Minister Gustav Fridolin said. Photo: Thomas Johansson/ TT

Three people were killed in an attack that shocked Sweden as a masked, sword-wielding assailant entered the school, stabbing students and teachers who appeared to be of foreign origin. Several people were also injured. The attacker, 21-year-old Anton Lundin Pettersson, was then shot dead by police.

“It was an attack on all of Sweden,” Education Minister Gustav Fridolin said as the procession ended outside the school.

In the week running up to the one-year anniversary, students of the school had made thousands of postcards in memory of the teacher, pupil and teacher aide who were killed in the assault.

A police investigation has showed that Lundin had planned the attack, which lasted around 10 minutes, after being inspired by racist websites.

A teenage student told The Local at the time that many people at the school at first thought it was some kind of a prank.

“I was in a classroom with my class when one of my classmates’ sisters called her to warn her that there was a murderer at the school. So we locked the door to the classroom, but our teacher was still outside in the corridor.”

“We wanted to warn him, so a few of us went outside and then I saw the murderer, he was wearing a mask and had a sword. Our teacher got stabbed.”

“The murderer started chasing me, I ran into another classroom. If I had not run, I would have been murdered. I’m feeling really scared. Everyone’s scared here.”

Trollhättan is an industrial town with around 50,000 residents.