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TOPIC: food delivery


Paid In Food, 14-Hour Shifts: How An Italian Delivery Racket Exploits The Most Vulnerable

Of 823 delivery riders checked in a recent police blitz, 92 were using accounts that belonged to someone else, rented to them for exorbitant rates. The investigation reveals widespread exploitation of these gig workers, who are often vulnerable, undocumented immigrants.

MILAN — Some were forced to shell out €300 just to change a bike wheel or battery pack. Others were charged €1,000 for a bike. In one case, a Pakistani delivery rider said he worked for 12 to 14 hours every day, rain or shine, on Sundays and holidays, in exchange for food and €100 per month, forced to use a fake account provided by an exploitative compatriot.

This is the racket of illegal riders. Born during the explosion of delivery services during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, authorities say it has taken on enormous dimensions.

After a 2019 investigation into exploitative labor practices in delivery services, Italian authorities fined platforms up to €90,000 and forced them to hire riders with pseudo self-employment contracts.

As part of a new investigation, Milan prosecutors are now waiting for the results of recent police checks in the northern city and elsewhere in Italy, including the cities of Turin, Genoa and Bologna. Prosecutor Maura Ripamonti says charges of illegal employment and exploitation of workers are expected.

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