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Italy: Milan’s public prosecutor’s office orders 4 online platforms to hire more than 60,000 delivery personnel
Planet Labor, 25 February 2021, n°12381 -

The Milan public prosecutor’s office has decided to strike hard. Following an investigation that began in 2019 after a number of road traffic accidents involving bike delivery riders, the prosecutors are demanding that 60,519 platform workers (at Foodinho-Glovo, Uber Eats Italy, Just Eat Italy and Deliveroo Italy) are regularised. The Public Prosecutor’s Office is giving these companies 90 days to carry this out and provide the workers with contracts guaranteeing accident prevention and social protection. The platforms are also being required to pay social security contributions on top of fines for breaches of labor standards totaling €733 million, an amount that could be quadrupled with the risk of criminal sanctions for their managers should they fail to implement the hirings within the stated time limit. The investigation, carried out by local police and the labor inspectorate, first began with a random check on 30 delivery drivers. The probe continued with interviews of 1,000 delivery-riders operating in the Milan area, before being extended to the more than 60,000 delivery drivers who have worked for the 4 platforms throughout Italy since 2017. The findings pointed to the fact that an algorithm was being used to rank the workers and assign more missions to the faster, more efficient and more available riders; something which promotes dangerous road behaviour, and endangers riders’ lives. ‘Being able to withhold work from those who had stopped due to physical needs, and being able to assign fewer errands to delivery riders who have received a low ranking by the algorithm, qualifies the work relationship as a subordinate work relationship’, according to the survey cited by the La Reppublica publication. All 4 companies will thus have to train the workers, assess the risks and provide adequate protection equipment. According to the Corriere della Serra publication, these platforms could opt to leave Italy. Deliveroo Italy disagrees “with the painting that was represented by the Labour Inspectorate and the Milan Public Prosecutor’s Office” and plans to challenge the decision before the appropriate bodies. “The documents transmitted refer to old contracts: since November 2020, in fact, the contracts of the deliverymen who collaborate with Deliveroo are governed by new individual contracts that refer to the national collective agreement for riders (on this very controversial agreement see dispatch n°12130). “The company states that “this decision has no impact on Deliveroo’s current activities in Italy”.