About 3,000 people gathered in the western city of Fribourg on Saturday to protest at plans by the Danish multinational Carlsberg to close the town’s Cardinal brewery.
Christian Levrat, leader of the centre-left Social Democrat party, and member of the House of Representatives, who is himself from Fribourg, told the crowd that the brewery was part of the town’s identity and tradition.
The decision to close it was a demonstration of the “arrogance” of those responsible, he said.
Dominique de Buman, of the centre-right Christian Democrats, a former mayor of the town, who represents the canton in the Senate, said Carlsberg wanted to destroy an old tradition.
The Unia trade union, which had called the demonstration only 24 hours earlier, said it was pleased with the turn-out.
It said there were various ideas about how to keep Cardinal in Fribourg, and there would now be “delicate” discussions with the management, for which they need the support of the population.
The Feldschlösschen group, to which Cardinal belongs, announced at the end of August that it planned to close the brewery, in accordance with a decision by its parent company, Carlsberg.
Carlsberg bought Feldschlösschen in 2000. It is trying to lower the production costs of its sites in western Europe, saying the beer market faces tough times internationally.
Cardinal has a work force of 75. If it closes, 18 will be given early retirement, and the others offered posts elsewhere.
swissinfo.ch and agencies
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