Italy probes Uber’s exploit of drivers, including Bangladeshis

Agence France-Presse. Milan | Published: 10:48, Oct 13,2020

 
 

Milan prosecutors have submitted a report into practices at food-delivery service Uber Eats in Italy, where a senior manager is accused of exploiting vulnerable migrant workers, Italian media said Monday.

The report says delivery riders -- from Bangladesh, Gambia, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Mali, Nigeria and Pakistan -- worked ‘in conditions of extreme vulnerability and social isolation’.

They were only paid three euros per delivery, regardless of how long their journey took, the weather conditions, what time they were working and whether or not it was a public holiday, reports said.

The prosecutor's report said they were also ‘stripped of the tips that customers spontaneously left’, and punished with ‘arbitrary suspension of payments due for alleged lack of work’.

The report, by lead prosecutor Paolo Storari, names 10 people it says were involved in the exploitation of Uber Eats workers and tax fraud such as false invoices, reports said.

It accuses senior operations manager Gloria Bresciani and three others from companies that sourced the labour of ‘taking advantage of the need to work among migrants and asylum seekers living in reception centres and coming from conflict zones’.

The prosecutor's office will now either press charges or shelve the case.

In May, a Milan court put Uber Italy under temporary administration as part of the investigation into the business practices at Uber Eats, the company's fast-growing food-delivery wing.

A hearing is scheduled for October 22 to review that status. It is unclear whether or not Uber Italy will face charges in the affair.

Contacted by AFP, Uber Italy said it was working closely with the authorities to revise and improve its procedures, and would continue to do so.

Lead prosecutor Storari was not immediately available for comment.

Loss-making Uber, which is based in San Francisco, took a major hit to its ride-hailing business because of the coronavirus, but its food delivery service has been boosted in recent months by customers eating in at home.

 

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