Unions file bankruptcy petition against Saab

Two Swedish labour unions have filed a request to force troubled automaker Saab into bankruptcy, the Unionen labour group said in a statement on Monday, according to the TT news agency.

Unions file bankruptcy petition against Saab

“The request has been submitted because Unionen’s members have still not received their August wages and the deadline Unionen has given Saab has expired,” Unionen said in a statement.

In addition to Unionen, the Swedish Organization for Managers (Ledarna), a white collar union, has also said it plans to file a bankruptcy petition.

The reason behind the filings is that Saab employees have still not been paid.

“It’s clearly very tragic to be forced to take this step. But the situation is unsustainable and the border for what’s acceptable has been passed,” Andreas Olsson, an attorney with Ledarna, said in a statement.

“Our mission now is to push for our members to get the salaries they are owed.”

Altogether, 900 bankruptcy petitions have been filed an now must be registered as a single case in the court.

“They’ve arrived here with boxes and now a bankruptcy judge is coming in to have a look at them,” said Ingrid Lund, a clerk at the Vänersborg District Court, told TT.

Unionen chair Cecilia Fahlberg said in a statement that “the bankruptcy petition doesn’t in any way get in the way of a future economic solution which may come”.

“If money finds its way into our members’ bank accounts, the petition will be withdrawn,” she said.

The same applies if the court of appeals reverses the district court’s ruling and grants Saab permission to reorganise.

“Unionen plans on contributing to having a future hearing of the district court’s ruling before the bankruptcy filing,” said Fahlberg.

Earlier on Monday, Saab Automobile announced it had struck an agreement whereby its Chinese partner Youngman planned to offer it a loan of approximately €70 million as part of a bridge financing arrangement to help Saab with short-term financing during a planned business reconstruction.

However, according to a statement from Saab, the transaction had yet to be completed.

Plans called for the loan to be repaid when Pang Da and Youngman had finalised their acquisition of their €245 million stake in Saab parent Swedish Automobile, a deal which must first be approved by authorities in both Sweden and China.

Saab Automobile is expected as well to file an appeal of last week’s district court ruling in the company’s request for protection from creditors while to carried out a business reorganisation was denied.

Saab’s debts amount to about €150 million euros ($210 million), according to Saab chief executive Victor Muller, and the company has stopped paying its suppliers who have in turn halted deliveries since April.

Saab employs 3,700 people.

The district court of Vänersborg in southwestern Sweden on Thursday rejected Saab’s request for bankruptcy protection, concluding that “there is not enough reason to believe that a company reorganisation would be successful.”

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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.