Byron Burger in Edinburgh set for protests as migrant worker ‘bust’ anger continues


Restaurant chain invited migrant staff to training day that resulted in their deportation

BYRON BURGER’S flagship restaurant in Edinburgh will be the scene of protests today (5 August) as anger continues over the chain’s alleged collusion with the Home Office to deport migrant workers.

The outlet will be the second of the upmarket burger brand’s to face pickets in Scotland more than a week after it was reported that the chain’s London operation invited 35 staff members to a training day on 4 July only to hand them over to immigration officers for working under false documentation.

On Saturday (30 July) activists protested outside Glasgow Byron Burger, and entered the restaurant with the permission of staff to distribute materials detailing the incident to customers.

Speaking to CommonSpace about the Edinburgh demo, a spokesperson for the Migrant Solidarity Network (MSN) told CommonSpace that activists wanted to coordinate action with groups across the uk.

He said: “After demos were organised in London, Manchester and Leeds, the Edinburgh based MSN, together with other groups, decided to join the protests with two days of action in Scotland’s capital, beginning with a picket of the North Bridge Byron Burger tonight.”

Byron Burger said it had to comply with the Home Office after it discovered the company was employing migrants who were working illegally in the UK. Businesses which are found to be employing undocumented workers can face large fines.

“The direct action taken against Byron pales into insignificance compared to the ruining of 35 people’s lives.” Better Than Zero

Speaking to CommonSpace, a Byron Burger spokesperson said: “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.

“We have cooperated fully and acted upon the Home Office’s requests throughout the course of the investigations leading to this action, and will continue to do so.”

A spokesperson for Better Than Zero, which campaigns against the abuse of workers in precarious employment and will be sending activists to the Edinburgh action, told CommonSpace that the group was more concerned with the plight of the migrant workers than the restaurant chain.

“The direct action taken against Byron pales into insignificance compared to the ruining of 35 people’s lives,” he said

“The demo in Edinburgh is important because it’s a flagship store in Scotland – it shows there is a nationwide anger against something that happened in London. And it shows that after Brexit there are still people willing to resist the mistreatment of migrants and migrant workers,” he added.

The Home Office is believed to have deported all the migrant workers who attended the Byron training day.

The demonstration will take place at the North Bridge branch of Byron Burgers in Edinburgh at 5:30pm tonight.

Picture courtesy of Facebook

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