Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Illegal worker arrests at Queensferry Crossing site

Queensferry Crossing Image copyright Transport Scotland
Image caption More than 10,000 people have worked on the project since work started in 2011

Seven people working on the Queensferry Crossing have been arrested on suspicion of working illegally after an investigation by the Home Office.

The workers were not directly employed by the Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors, but had been hired via a sub-contractor.

The raid took place on Monday. The workers are due to appear before Dunfermline Sheriff Court.

Bridge officials said the project contractor had co-operated fully.

Scotland's Economy Secretary Keith Brown has written to the Home Office to seek reassurance over the measures used to address the issue of illegal foreign workers.

Mr Brown said: "It's important that the construction industry can responsibly provide the correct resource to support the delivery of our pipeline of infrastructure projects.

"Across our projects contractors have assured us that they carry out all business and operations in such a manner as to fully comply with and meet all legislative requirements, including all relevant employment laws.

"As such, it is standard policy to carry out checks to ensure that all direct employees and staff have the necessary and valid credentials as is required for them to be legitimately employed prior to their appointment. We have also received assurance that it is also a requirement that second tier subcontractors also meet these obligations."

More than 10,000 people have worked on the bridge construction site since work was started in 2011.

Responding to news of the arrests, the union UCATT said the incident was just one example of wider workplace abuses on the site.

Steve Dillon, regional secretary of UCATT Scotland, said: "This flagship project is now operating like the wild West. Without a union convenor the site has no sheriff and this is inevitably going to increase the exploitation and mistreatment of workers."

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