Job centre berated for ‘lacklustre’ Saab effort

Job centre berated for 'lacklustre' Saab effort
With one in five former Saab employees still out of work, the Swedish Public Employment Service has come under fire for lacklustre attempts at helping them find new employment after the Sweden-based carmaker went bankrupt in late 2011.

“The local employment service office didn’t add any value to the process in the six months following the bankruptcy,” according to a report by Trygghetsfonden TSL, an insurance body created by the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise (Svenskt Näringsliv) and the Swedish Trade Union Confederation (LO).

The new report looked at Saab Automobile and its subsidiaries in the western town of Trollhättan after the company’s implosion.

The report, released on Thursday, credited the metal workers trade union IF Metall, the organization Startkraft, and a local education outfit in Trollhättan for their work in the wake of the extensive job losses.

In contrast, it had few words of praise for the state-run employment service, noting that several workers were now “further away from the labour market today than they were in the immediate aftermath of the bankruptcy”.

The report authors noted that the employment service was awarded 1.3 billion kronor ($250 million) by the government in additional funding to specifically target the needs of the Saab workers, yet efforts following the December 19th, 2011 bankruptcy were not what they hoped for.

“Furthermore, different state agencies did not work well together, which came to effect some of the laid-off workers in a very negative way,” the reported stated.

It noted that some of the 248 workers that have not yet found work, started their own companies or gone into further education, some were lingering in the hinterland between the employment service’s programmes and the social insurance system (försäkringskassan).

The report author criticized the state agency for not offering basic IT courses for about 300 newly-unemployed workers. It also failed to help certain workers take their truck licences, and in four cases failed to find interpreters.

“It’s hard to get rid of the feeling that coordination efforts were bureaucratic and sloppy,” the report summarized.

More than 1,300 workers decided to partake in the labour market re-entry programme. Four in five former Saab workers are today working or studying

More than 700 are today in employment, while 14 have started their own companies. About 250 former Saab workers are now studying.

There are 248 people who are neither working nor studying.

Ann Törnkvist

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