Byron said that it was unaware that any of its staff were illegal immigrants as protests against a Home Office raid and removal of 35 staff from the upmarket burger group escalated.
Last night people gathered outside the Holborn branch of the chain - which had closed earlier in the day due to the planned protest - to protest against what has claimed to be Byron's involvement in "entrapping" staff from Albania, Brazil, Nepal and Egypt by inviting them to attend training sessions, where immigration enforcement officers arrived and took away them away to process their deportation. The staff were said to have provided Byron with false documentation.
The latest protest followed an incident on Friday evening when the same restaurant in Holborn and one in St Giles was forced to close after protestors released hundreds of live insects. Activists from London Black Revs and the Malcolm X Movement unleashed 8,000 crickets, 4,000 cockroaches and 1,000 locusts in response to what they said was Byron's "despicable actions in the past weeks having entrapped waiters, back of house staff and chefs in collaboration with the UK Border Agency."
Byron has responded by issuing the following statement: "Byron was unaware that any of our workers were in possession of counterfeit documentation until the Home Office brought it to our attention. The Home Office recognises that Byron as an employer has always been fully compliant with immigration and asylum law in its employment practices.
"We carry out rigorous ‘right to work' checks, but sophisticated counterfeit documentation was used in order to pass these checks. We have cooperated fully and acted upon the Home Office's requests and processes throughout the course of their investigation: it is our legal obligation to do so."
Activists release insects in two London branches of Byron >>
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