CLEPA: Sweden should adopt short-time compensation

In an interview with TTela, Lars Holmqvist the CEO of CLEPA explains that Sweden, unlike Germany and Italy, does not offer much compensation for businesses struggling under a recession.

“I followed closely the last deals made with Saab and it should not have had a negative impact on GM had they accepted it. What GM did was paltry.”

The Swedish government has set up an educational package to help former employees qualify for other types of jobs. “Everybody knows it will not generate many new jobs. It would be better if they would offer something of real value. In Gernmany and Italy, the state offer short-time compensations, which means the state will pay 50% or more for a couple of years.”

This would help ensure that the bankruptcy estate would increase significantly in value.

“If Magna or some other company would take over, this would significantly boost their chances. But I have difficulties believing this could happen, given the current administration’s politics”

Cherine Khalil, press secretary for the employment minister Hillevi Engström, expresses some concerns when asked by TTela. “The German system does not apply to companies in bankruptcy proceedings, but rather existing companies hit by the recession. And the part about other companies interested in resuming production at Saab are pure speculations so far”.

She adds that short-time compensations talks are taking place between Hillevi Engström, Anders Borg (minister of finance) and the union IF Metall concerning measures to handle the recession. These talks just started.

I asked RedJ how this works in Germany:
“If you as a company hadn’t enough work to employ more than 50% of your employees, you where entitled to ask for “Kurzarbeiertgeld”. But you also had to show that the cause for your low level of activity was caused only by the crisis in 2009.

So if your company were entitled to receive “Kurzarbeitergeld”, the state did fill up your wage with maximum 60% w/o Kids or 67% w/ Kids of the difference between what you should get (working full time) and what you are getting during the “Kurzarbeit”.

This system was introduced in 2009, and back then a company could use it for a maximum of 24 months. The German government has extended the program already two times, for 2010 and for 2011, making slight changes.”

As for SweGov: Yes, Saab are now bankrupt, and Ms Khalil could very well be correct asserting that the German compensation does not apply to a company in bankruptcy proceedings, but how about answering this: Would this scheme have helped Saab a year ago? Could it help those interested in restarting Saab? Four ministers shows up in Trollhättan after SWAN had to throw in the towel. Where were SweGov when EIB were practically sabotaging Saab?

23 thoughts on “CLEPA: Sweden should adopt short-time compensation”

  1. Sweden should have given SAAB a 5 billion SEK loan in the beginning of 2011.
    This should have been with a very low interest rate and special agreement/demands and within the existing guarantees, as SAAB Parts.
    I guess talks were performed, but there was probably not any interest at all, from the Swedish Government.

    • You are right! So strange and so stupid that the Swedish Government sacrifices one of the most innovative – and potentially eco-friendly tech-developing – (car-)industries in the world on their alter off neo-liberal religion.

  2. SHAME ON YOU SWEDISH GOVERNMENT!!!!!!!!! I am Canadian, and let me tell you we would only dream to have a great ingenuity automobile company like Saab who produces some of the worlds best automobiles. There is no chance in hell that my government would let a home grown company go bankrupt! Where is your pride? As for the general population why don’t you manifest alongside SaabsUnited on Jan 14th and 15th make it a big manifestation. I’ll say it again where is your PRIDE? The American and Canadian governments funded and did what ever they could to help our auto industries back in 2009. SHAME ON YOU SWEDISH GOVERNMENT!!!!

    • Unfortunately we are not enough Saab fan in Sweden and it is long left to next election, but I am sure that Swedish Saab enthusiasts have a good memory.

    • Unfortunately we the Swedish People have elected the out-break group from the “old conservatives” (moderaterna). Their ideology rests on Neo-Liberal ideas. Bring down taxes, care less or not at all on political areas like Defence, Police and business that can not do by themselves. The ex. Prime minister Carl Bildt ( presently minister of State Department) is old School but was put aside by Anders Borg, Fredrik Reinfeldt, Mrs. Stegö-Chilo and à few more some years ago.

      The NEW conservatives have taken massive amounts of social democrats under their wings slowly making them to a Power and wealth party.
      Sweden used to have a lot to be proud of:
      – Great compulsory military system = the worlds best soldiers, that is now taken away and I guess we soon have “the Scum of the Earth”
      – Great independent car Industry with Swedish money to support that is all gone as well. Saab is just ANY company for Swe. gov.

      It is time for swedes to show patriotism, buy Swedish cars as New as possible.
      Also Saab old-cars enthusiasts needs to get newer Saabs as daily drives.

  3. Understatement of 2011: “What GM did was paltry.” Mr. Holmqvist was honest though, and told it like it was! I am so sorry for what the Saab employees are going through this Christmas season. We, the people who own the cars and love the brand—-are sad and mad. But for those employees who gave it their all—-they now have to face 2012 worried about putting food on the table and money in the bank. The tragedy of this is that so many people worked so hard to put a workable deal together—and my belief is that GM never had any intention of letting a deal go through. They let people invest time, money, blood, sweat and tears—-knowing full well they were going to reject anything submitted. They are rats.

  4. There is no swedish pride amongst most swedes. Most young people and professionals either dream of working for an international and reputable company or to start their own business to sell to an international and reputable company when (hopefully) successful. There is hardly any pride left in swedish industry, and of course the last decade or two we have seen most (if not all) successful swedish companies of greater importance being sold off to international investors/companies and the current swedish administration clearly only value companies in the service industry such as banks, investment firms and the like. One of the few important swedish companies left is Ericsson and Saab AB, and both have seen their respective share of foreign ownership.

    It is obvious for anyone with an analytical sense that despite the tremendous impact of swedish entrepreneurship across the globe, the age of swedish powerhouses is coming to an end. Sweden has seen many powerhouses, quite a load for its size, and most have been sold and the ones left have been “downsized”. What other country of its size had not one, but two, automobile companies? It is an absolute shame that the swedish people and the government allowed this industrial icon to perish. What other industry has had such a great impact on the swedish way of life or for the world’s populus’ way of life than the automotive one? It is an absolute shame, and I am sure future generations will condemn the choices made today, and I am not just talking about the small group that enjoy great feelings for this brand.

    It all comes down to greed. The current political parties in power are so because of narrowminded people whom dream of a future with money lined pockets, but they are only kidding themselves thinking that Moderaterna will benefit the average person (despite them calling themselves the “new working class party” – they sure got many people fooled!!). On the short term most people end up with a tiny margin more money in their respective wallets, but at a price most of them (and everyone of us else) are experiencing but not yet really grasping the amplitude of. If they remain in power for more terms, the general populus will soon understand why our forefathers built the social structure – although I find it outright amazing that people can be so blind as to what keeps the fabric of a safe society like Sweden (or Canada) in that state. Sweden is definitely loosing more and more of what makes it a great nation, and loosing Saab Automobile is a large stake of greatness to waste.

    Only time will tell how great a loss it was. There are only darker times ahead for our society with irresponsible people at the helm… I weep for our collective future. I also weep for Saab Automobile.

    • I agree to some extent.
      There is a legacy in Sweden because of Volvo,Ericsson,Saab,IKEA,Astra etc that creates some very interesting companies that still has the edge when it comes to creating innovative services and products.

      The shape of the Swedish (small-mid-large sized) companies can be illustrated with a a sandglass, this is not the case in Germany for instance (atlest not so pronounced) where the situation is more like a cylinder.

      We do have some BIG companies (as of today with many foregins stakeholders).We have few mid-sized companies that however have services/products to eventually become one of the big ones. They could benefit greatly with the help from swegov.We also have many extremely small but promising companies in various fields (IT,Bio,Technology).Some Swedish bio companies have no money to get into phase III of various drug testings and certifications nor establish a sales network. This is a show-stopper in their fields. They could benefit greatly with the help from swegov.

      In many small companies i find alot of Swedish pride. Yes you right that some of them are running it in order to do a start-up and then sell it. But many boards are actually searching for people that has the strength and knowledge to avoid to sell it (at least for the time being).This is one of the hardest battle for any board to find people that is able and willing to actually run a company according to the original plan.

      Sweden has lost the integration of university-companies and the state.We need to stop talking about how can swegov save XXXX jobs NOW but instead get back to the drawing board on how to apply a framework that could generate XXXX jobs. This is a bi-directional communication, so Saab needs to become active in their role of creating a sustainable society as well.

  5. Who stole my Christmas? Grinch Motors! Thanks Grinch Motors, for stealing my Saab Christmas. I will never buy a car from you. You’re the Grinch that stole our Christmas. Boycott the Grinch! Living off the backs of American taxpayers and you had the gall to deny a struggling car company.

    • +900

      I think this was all part of Grinch Motors’ intention right from the outset in Jan 2010. Shame on SweGov for not helping though.

  6. To survive or not survive an company which is really a Swedish pride mostly relying on the policy of the country.We all have seen how an old GM has become to a new competitive company.It was not the power of GM or other investors.GM should thank to the government of the UnitedStates or thank to the policy of the US government.I always think about the topic ‘free trade’ .But even in the developed nation like US there are not all the trades called ‘free trade’. That means whether you want to pull a company down or not must depend on the policy established before. The government must always think about the interests of the state at first then make the decision .That needed the policy to guarantee.Since the government have to predominate in policy-making.A policy is good or not closely associated with the constitutor. This is the reason why we are sad about the saab`s bankruptcy now.

  7. The lack of political support from Sweden is hard to understand. If Sweden could have enabled SAAB’s survival with a reasonable amount of financial support, the failure to attempt to provide such support is unconsionable.

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