GM extends deadline for Saab sale: report

General Motors (GM) has extended its December 31st deadline for the sale of Saab Automobile, according to a Saab official. Meanwhile, Swedish unions have turned to Washington for help in urging GM to sell the Swedish automaker.

GM extends deadline for Saab sale: report

“The 31st of December deadline is not valid any more because GM announced that it will start the wind-down but at the same time that the bids that are coming in they will also evaluate,” Saab spokesperson Eric Geers told AFP.

General Motors is currently in negotiations to sell Saab to Spyker, a Dutch

sportscar maker. Spyker’s chief executive Victor Muller said earlier on Wednesday that he expects an answer from GM this week on his company’s offer.

He added that other potential buyers than Spyker, which made a second offer for Saab last week, may have entered into the mix.

Asked about reports that a new deadline for the deal of January 7 had been set, Geers declined to comment but added that Saab would resume production on January 11 after a four-week shutdown as part of plans to close the plant.

“We will build all the customer orders,” he said.

News of the deadline extension comes at the same time as various unions at Swedish car maker Saab have approached the US Department of the Treasury regarding GM’s announced wind-down of its Swedish unit.

tefan Löfven, head of the influential Swedish union IF Metall, told the TT news agency that the union has a contact at the US finance ministry who will guide them through the American bureaucracy.

“We have also received positive signals that a solution for GM and Saab is being worked out. The American Department of the Treasury wants a positive outcome for GM and for American tax payers. In the long-term, this should also mean a good outcome for Swedish taxpayers and for Saab,” said Löfven, who has also voiced criticism that the Swedish government had not stepped in to negotiate with its American counterpart.

“The world is not run by politicians calling each other. You don’t solve problems like that. There must be a buyer that GM wants to sell to,” TT quoted Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt as saying previously.

Last week, the unions urged GM to consider Spyker’s second bid for Saab.

Spyker renewed its offer on December 20th, two days after GM said it wanted to shut down the Swedish car maker.

On Tuesday, Swedish media reported that GM agreed to re-open negotiations on the sale of Saab to Spyker after the withdrawal of two of Spyker’s Russian investors.

Saab, which has barely turned a profit in two decades under GM management, employs about 3,400 people in Sweden. Media reports suggest a Saab closure could lead to more than 8,000 job losses, including subcontractors.

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German steelworkers agree 6.5 percent pay hike after strike

Tens of thousands of steel workers in western Germany will get a 6.5-percent pay hike this year - the biggest jump in three decades - in a settlement that could set the tone for industry as inflation soars.

German steelworkers agree 6.5 percent pay hike after strike

The agreed increase would come into effect “from August 1st”, the IG Metall union in the region of North Rhine-Westphalia said in a statement Wednesday.

The 68,000 steelworkers in the industrial region would also receive a one-off payment of 500 euros for the months of June and July, the union said.

The outcome of the negotiations was “the biggest increase in wages in the steel industry in percentage terms in 30 years,” said IG Metall boss, Joerg Hofmann.

Germany’s largest union, IG Metall launched a strike action at steelworks in the west in May after management failed to meet its demands for an 8.2 percent pay increase.

On Thursday at the peak of the movement, around 16,000 workers across 50 firms downed tools, the union said.

READ ALSO: Should foreign workers join a German union?

“Rising inflation” and the “good economic situation” of the steel industry were the basis for IG Metall’s demands.

Consumer prices rose at a 7.9-percent rate in Germany in May, a record for the country since reunification in 1990 driven by the outbreak of the war in Ukraine.

The smaller number of steelworkers in the east of Germany, who are also seeking an 8.2 percent pay boost, have yet to reach their own agreement.

Negotiations are currently taking place in a number of sectors. In the textile industry, 12,000 workers in the east of Germany sealed a 5.6 percent pay increase at the beginning of May.

Meanwhile, negotiations covering the auto industry, and mechanical and electrical engineering will begin in November.

Despite the agreed rise the onus was still on government to relieve the pressure on workers form rising prices “in the coming months”, IG Metall boss Hofmann said.

Significant wage demands have prompted concerns of a wage-price spiral, where rising pay sustains higher inflation.

The European Central Bank last week said it would raise its interest rates for the first time in over a decade this July as it seeks to stamp out price rises.