Volvo Cars has announced that its next generation XC90 model will be moved from Gothenburg to be built at its new factory in South Carolina, USA. IF Metall union representative Glenn Bergström tells Swedish Radio News that it's a blow for Volvo workers here.
"It is a loss of prestige. It is our largest product, our prestigious product, which requires the most working hours. Then there is the danger of reducing manpower," he tells Swedish Radio.
The fortunes of Volvo Cars have been transformed under Chinese ownership. Both sales and profits are increasing significantly and the company is also recruiting in Sweden. For example, over 3,000 workers have been employed in recent years.
The Swedish factories are producing cars at maximum output and Glenn Bergström says the future in the short term is good. But he is concerned about the long-term for the union workers.
"In the long run, (in 3-4 years) it can be a problem, at least in a downturn. Then it may be problematic to maintain employment as it stands today," says Bergström, who is vice president of IF Metall Volvo Cars, and who also sits on the company's board.
In a statement to Swedish Radio, Volvo Cars writes that no staff reductions are planned.
It says that Volvo invests each year in its factories in Sweden. The company also writes that major investments have been made here in recent years.
"Almost half of the $11 billion invested in Volvo was spent in Sweden, which included major changes and improvements in the Torsland factory, including the new bodywork building factory", says Volvo.