Saab staff face new paycheck delay

Saab employees’ wages may be delayed, marking the third consecutive month that at least part of the company's 3,700 employees has seen their salary payments delayed.

Saab staff face new paycheck delay

“It’s a damn shame,” commented Håkan Skött, chairman of the company’s union group Metallklubben, to news agency TT.

At the same time, the Swedish Enforcement Agency (Kronofogden) is threatening to empty the company’s checking account altogether.

“It’s possible that wages will be delayed. A normal wage execution hasn’t been possible, from what I’ve heard,” said Skött.

Saab’s explanation for possibly delaying wages in August is that part of the money the company has received from investors may not arrive in time for payouts.

“We’re all hoping that it will, and we want to believe that this will happen. But there’s no guarantee. There is a risk. We’re waiting for money that we’ve been promised, but that hasn’t been paid. We’re also looking for alternative funding, which we need in order to start up production again,” said Saab spokesperson Gunilla Gustavs to TT.

Saab Automobile said in a statement it was “taking all necessary actions to collect these funds in time and continues discussions with various parties to obtain

additional short-term funding”.

The company stressed however that there was “no assurance that the necessary funding will be obtained.”

The announcement also comes days after Saab’s parent company was forced to justify considerable pay hikes to its board members including a 633 percent pay raise to chairman Hans Hugenholtz.

Cecilia Fahlberg, trade union Unionen’s chairwoman, was highly critical of Saab’s announcement.

“If salaries are delayed for the third time this summer, it’s obviously completely unacceptable. We know there’s a strong sense of loyalty among employees, but the question is if the boundary for this loyalty hasn’t been reached,” said Fahlberg.

If the union’s 1,000 members don’t receive their wages on Friday, Unionen will once again begin work to collect wages on members’ behalf.

Saab owner Swedish Automobile plummeted on Amsterdam’s stock market following this news. By 2pm on Tuesday afternoon, the stock had dropped by 20.5 percent, to 5.2 kronor ($0.80).

Meanwhile, the company is continuing discussions with several parties, in a bid to solve short-term funding, and thereby manage to pay employees’ salaries.

But the Enforcement Agency’s search for Saab’s money is also ongoing. Their goal is to find and collect the 163 million kronor that various creditors have asked for.

If they find the account containing employees’ wages, which according to Saab’s intentions ought to contain roughly 100 million kronor within the next couple of days, the money will be levied.

“Saab’s suppliers also have employees waiting for salaries,” explained Hans Ryberg, manager of Uddevalla’s enforcement division, to TT.

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This is how much Swedish salaries increased in 2018

New figures released by Sweden’s National Mediation Institute (Medlingsinstitutet) on Wednesday showed that salaries increased at a faster rate last year than they did the year before.

This is how much Swedish salaries increased in 2018
File photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT
Across Sweden, salaries increased by an average 2.6 percent during the first eleven months of 2018, representing a modest increase over the 2.3 percent growth seen in 2017. 
Public sector wages grew by 3.0 percent in November 2018, while the private sector increase was a more modest 2.4 percent. 
“The boom in the Swedish economy and the strong demand for labour have not had significant impacts on the rate of wage increase in the economy as a whole,” Medlingsinstitutet economist Valter Hultén said in a press release
“At the same time, demand for labour is very high in the public sector and this can be a contributing factor to the wage increases being somewhat higher there than in the business sector,” he continued. 
Although Sweden’s unemployment rate recently reached its lowest figure in ten years, there are signs that the labour market is beginning to cool.
Earlier this week, two redundancy support organizations said that they expected to see a significant increase in people needing their services in 2019 and in what could be considered a bad omen, Sweden’s job agency warned on Wednesday that it will let eliminate upwards of a third of its workers nationwide in a move that is expected to significantly impact job-seekers.