A BRITISH burger chain has come under fire after luring its workers to a phony health and safety meeting where immigration officers pounced on them, rounding up 35 for deportation.
Senior management at Byron Burgers, an upmarket franchise frequented by middling office workers across London, colluded with the Home Office to set up the trap which took place on July 4.
Staff from more than a dozen London restaurants were summoned to the meeting and then ambushed by lawmen, who arrested those who could not provide adequate proof of their right to work in the UK. Nationals from Latin America, Nepal and Egypt were among those herded into the police wagon.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “Immigration enforcement officers carried out intelligence-led visits to a number of Byron restaurants across London on 4 July, arresting 35 people for immigration offences. The operation was carried out with the full co-operation of the business.”
Oddly the news was kept quiet on British shores and it took a Spanish online newspaper named El Iberico to uncover the conspiracy, which quickly made the rounds on social media before Byron were forced to admit their role in the plot.
“We can confirm that several of Byron’s London restaurants were visited by representatives of the Home Office. These visits resulted in the removal of members of staff who are suspected by the Home Office of not having the right to work in the UK, and of possessing fraudulent personal and right to work documentation that is in breach of immigration and employment regulation” read a statement from the fast food firm.
Amelia Womack, deputy leader of the Green party, said: “These reports are deeply shocking. If these accusations are true than the bosses at Byron should be utterly ashamed of themselves for turning people’s lives upside down.”
“People who are settled and working in the UK should be able to apply for residency so as to continue contributing to our society and our economy.”
A worker who spoke to press on the condition of anonymity was slightly more frank, saying “It is f*****g disgusting. Some of these people worked here for four or five years and they weren’t even given a chance to say goodbye.”