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Italian prosecutors fine food delivery firms, order hiring of 60,000 workers

Italian prosecutors fine food delivery firms, order hiring of 60,000 workers
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Italian prosecutors moved on Wednesday to fine food delivery companies nearly $889 million and ordered them to hire 60,000 workers following an investigation that revealed inadequate working conditions in the industry, Reuters reported.

An investigation into the workers or "riders" at delivery companies including Italian branches of Uber Eats, Just Eat and Deliveroo and a Spanish food delivery firm Foodinho-Glovo, was launched in 2019, prosecutors told the outlet.

“The vast majority of these riders are employed with occasional self-employment contracts ... but it emerged without a shadow of a doubt that ... they are fully included in the organisation of the company,” Deputy Prosecutor Tiziana Siciliano said, according to Reuters.

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The investigation also revealed that workers were managed by an app that would rank their performance. Many of the employees of the delivery services were forced to accept all deliveries in order to maintain a high performance ranking.

“This system actually forces the rider to accept all orders in order not to be demoted in the ranking and then have less work,” Siciliano said. “This is the reason why it is impossible to take holidays or sick leave.”

Prosecutors are also asking that the companies provide employees with appropriate gear to carry out deliveries such as uniforms and bikes with lighting, Reuters reported.

Uber Eats, Foodinho-Glovo and Deliveroo Italy released a joint statement pushing back against the prosecutors and their recommendations, the news outlet noted.

“The online food delivery is an industry that operates in full compliance with the rules and is able to guarantee an essential service,” they wrote in the statement.