SHOCKED jobseekers were subjected to 'degrading' drug tests in a Greenock street by a top recruitment firm, the Tele has learned.

People who were interviewed for posts with cabling firm Sanmina were left astonished this week when they were escorted outside Greenock Jobcentre by staff from Pertemps for mouth swabs to be taken - as cars drove past and pedestrians walked by.

The tests were taken outside the Jobcentre because Pertemps did not have permission to conduct them inside during interviews.

One jobhunter told the Tele he had been 'mortified' by the experience.

The man, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: "I had my interview and tests and then the person from Pertemps told me they'd carry out a drugs test, which I was fine with.

"She put her coat on and I followed, then we were outside the building, which I thought was strange. Then she handed me the swab to put in my mouth.

"I've worked in computer factories before but have never seen anything like this.

"I didn't want to do it but went along with it because I needed the job - I was totally embarrassed. People were walking by and it was yards away from the main road." Today a leading employment rights expert strongly criticised Pertemps, which is handling the recruitment for Sanmina. Jim McCourt, of the Inverclyde Advice and Employment Rights Centre, said: "Workers applying for work at Sanmina being drug screened in the street outside the Jobcentre by Pertemps is nothing other than sheer exploitation.

"This is victimising vulnerable workers and simply should not be permitted in law.

"Aside from the moral aspect, there may well be issues about data protection and disability discrimination.

"The situation is shocking and we're happy to speak to any more people who have been affected. I'll be taking this up with Pertemps and Sanmina, as what happened was unnecessary and degrading." Today, Pertemps issued a full apology for conducting the outdoor drug tests.

A spokeswoman said: "The Jobcentre don't allow us to test on the premises and we did conduct drug tests outside, around the side of the building.

"This highly unusual situation set of circumstances arose because the tests had to be taken on the day.

"It is certainly not best practice and it will absolutely not be happening again. I can only pass on our apologies for the inconvenience and any embarrassment caused."