The burger chain has been forced to temporarily close two of its London stores in the past four days after activists and protesters targeted the group following reports it had ‘tricked’ allegedly illegally-working staff into being deported.
The group has been accused of offering staff a supposed training day in some of its London branches, which was actually a means to identify those who were apparently working illegally, and then hand them over to the Home Office.
On Friday, activists flooded the London Central St Giles and Holborn sites with locusts and cockroaches, and last night protestors gathered outside the Holborn venue, with placards showing slogans such as ‘no one is illegal’ and ‘migration is not a crime’, alongside chants such as ‘No burgers, no nations, stop deportations’.
The group closed its Holborn site after thousands of people were due to attend the protest. All restaurants affected have since re-opened.
Byron claims that despite its “rigorous ‘right to work’ checks”, it was unaware that the workers in question had shown “sophisticated” counterfeit documentation when accepting work, and said it had always complied with immigration and asylum law to the best of its knowledge.
It added that it has always cooperated fully with the Home Office’s requests and processes, as is its legal obligation.
In response to the renewed protests at Holborn last night, a spokesperson for Byron said: “The safety of our customers and restaurant teams is paramount, and our priority is now to work with local police to minimise the risk of further incident.”