Government To Intervene In Securing Saab Future

The Swedish government is to intervene and try and help the Saab car plant in Trollhättan win a crucial contest with the Opel plant in Germany to produce midsize cars in the future and ward off massive redundancies and possible closure.

The State Secretary for Industry and Employment, Sven Soeder, has said that while both the Swedish and German governments are prohibited by EU regulations from offering up subsidies, Sweden can invest more money in infrastructure, product research and development in order to convince owners General Motors to keep production in Trollhattan.

However, Soeder declined to say how much money the government would spend helping Saab and emphasized that it’s up to the plant to ensure its own survival.

GM decided last month that the production of mid-sized cars in Europe, currently divided between the Saab plant in Trollhättan and an Opel factory in Ruesselsheim, Germany, should all be handled by the same plant.

The decision has sparked a fierce fight for survival between both plants, as they have until next year to convince GM it should be picked for the job. The losing plant risks massive layoffs, or perhaps even a complete shutdown.

Swedish Prime Minister Göran Persson plans to meet with GM’s Europe executives in Switzerland on October the 29th to discuss the situation.

Earlier in the week, at Trollhätten, the workers union staged two-hour long information meetings to hold up production in protest at GM’s decision to cut over 500 jobs there as part of 12,000 redundancies at its plants in Europe, with Germany the hardest hit.

The head of Sweden’s metal industrial union said that unlike in Germany, Tuesday’s two hour meeting could send a message to GM that Swedish workers are more likely to resolve issues without resorting to strikes.

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