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The owners of Saab Automobile, Netherlands-based ‘Swedish Automobile’, which used to be known as Spyker Cars, said that Saab would be unable to pay employees' wages because it had not yet obtained the short-term funding that it was seeking, the Financial Times newspaper reports.
The news will fuel doubts about the survival of Saab. Production at its plant in Trollhättan, north of Gothenburg, has been closed for most of the past two months because of a dispute with suppliers over unpaid bills.
Sweden's IF Metall and Unionen trade unions said they would send a formal demand for payment of back wages next Monday, after which Saab would have a week to respond.
If there was still no prospect of payment, the unions said they might have no choice but to push Saab into insolvency to qualify employees for state support.
Swedish Automobile said the carmaker was still in talks with potential investors to obtain short-term funding, including selling and leasing back the carmaker's real estate.
As well as an immediate 3,500 jobs directly affected at Saab, the manufacturer's supply base could see up to 10,000 jobs at risk in the near vicinity, with the unions attacking what they perceive as not enough action from the Swedish government.
IF Metall national bargaining secretary, Vele-Pekka Saekeala, told specialist publication just-auto "we are talking about 3,500 jobs at Saab directly in the plant. Then there are also the companies, which supply Saab. All in all we could be talking about maybe 10,000 jobs in the area."
Saekeala added that those suppliers who are reliant on Saab and competitor Volvo might consider volumes as too small and move abroad.