Volvo Car Corp. says an agreement reached with its unions on worker pay cuts and reduced work hours “probably” will avoid further job reductions, a scenario playing out at fellow Swedish auto maker Saab Automobile AB, as well.
Volvo, owned byMotor Co., already has laid off 6,000 of its 24,300 workers worldwide, including 3,000 in Sweden.
has said it is reviewing all options for Volvo, including selling the brand.
“We are in an extreme situation with a continuing weak global market for new cars, especially in the U.S. and Sweden, and we need to take action to further reduce our costs,” Volvo President and CEO Stephen Odell says.
The new measures, effective from April 1 through January 2010, will provide a savings of close to SK500 million ($57 million), the auto maker says. These include scaling back production with 45 days of planned down time at Volvo’s Gent and Torslanda assembly plants and freezing employee wages.
Additionally, 40 of Volvo’s highest-ranked managers, including the executive management team, will see their salaries cut 5%. No bonuses will be paid to employees, including managers, in 2009 and 2010.
“We are in a unique situation and need to take extraordinary measures to improve the competitiveness of our business,” Odell says. “We have had a good and open dialogue with the unions. This agreement we all believe is a good model to secure our business and avoid further employee separations at the present time.”
Saab, which has filed for reorganization as struggling parentCorp. tries desperately to unload the unit, plans to cut 750 jobs at its Trollhattan facility to stay afloat.
The moves will affect 650 hourly workers and 100 salaried employees at the plant in southwest Sweden, a spokeswoman tells Reuters.
Saab reportedly has drawn the interest of up to eight suitors, including a Swedish investor group.