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Gig economy firms hit with fresh blow after Italian workers’ rights ruling

Image credit: Pixabay remixed

Over 60,000 gig economy workers who are allocated jobs by firms UberEats, Deliveroo, Foodinho and Just Eat are set to be considered employees, with a payout of £635m expected after an Italian court ruling.

The news comes just days after the UK Supreme Court sided with drivers working on the Uber ride-sharing app, ruling that they are entitled to workers' rights.

The decision in Italy came following an in-depth investigation into the current working practices of the firms by the Milan Public Prosecutor's Office for Criminal Matters and the National Labour Inspectorate, regarding the classification of employment relationships.

The Territorial Labour Inspectorate of Milan, the Labor Inspection Unit of the Carabinieri of Milan, INPS and Inail, have notified assessment reports to the four companies which currently offer home delivery “activities”.

Employees' protections must be applied to the riders belonging to Just eat, Foodinho (Glovo), Uber Eats Italy and Deliveroo, operating throughout the national territory.

Analysing the operating mechanism of the app that manages the work performance of the riders, it emerged that the organisational model is standardised for all the companies concerned and corresponding to that protected by art. 2 of the legislative decree n. 81/2015, which provides, in fact, the protections of subordinate work.

A survey made it possible to ensure, for the first time, protection for the entire audience of riders and not for the individual worker.

Specifically, the method of execution of the work performance was imposed by the organisational model adopted by the platform, through the app that each worker must download in order to render the service.

The platforms, in fact, manage access to bookings for working hours (slots), the timing of deliveries, the path to be followed and the payment methods by the customer.

The Investigation found that any rider who “does not adapt to the imposed organisational model suffers negative repercussions on job opportunities and on access to more profitable working hours”.

From this, follows the application to riders of the salary of the employee, the consequent social security classification and, above all, the full protection of health and safety.

The decision relates to over 60,000 workers, who carried out the activity of completing allocated work for the four companies in the period from 01.01.2016 to 31.10.2020.

For these workers, the Milan Territorial Labour Inspectorate has ordered food delivery companies to provide them with adequate information about the typical institutions of subordinate work applicable to them, as well as the obligation to provide for payment.

The four Italian companies of the digital platforms will be charged with administrative sanctions, wages and social security and insurance contributions in favour of the workers concerned.


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