(Added union leader comments)
ROME, March 30 (Reuters) – Just Eat on Tuesday said it would employ about 4,000 motorists in Italy to comply with an Italian prosecutor’s decision aimed at improving conditions for show economy workers.
A Milan prosecutor in February fined the Italian unit of food ordering company Uber Eats, Just Eat and Deliveroo and Spanish food delivery app Foodinho-Glovo and said they had to employ more than 60,000 workers on contract.
The decision came at the end of an investigation launched in July 2019 after motorists were involved in several road accidents, indicating inadequate and unsafe working conditions.
So far, Just Eat, which is under the parent company Just Eat Takeway.com, has been the only one to comply with prosecutors’ orders to hire workers.
“We welcome Just Eat’s decision and hope other shipping companies will follow suit,” Marco Odone, head of the Uil Trasporti national union, told Reuters.
With the surge in use of application delivery, the rights of people working for “gig economy” service companies are increasingly in focus across Europe.
Companies are facing pressure to improve conditions, turning away from a model in which the majority of workers are self-employed freelancers.
Just Eat will place motorists in Italy on national contracts specially designed for workers in the transport, shipping and logistics industries, which will provide them with paid vacations, sick leave, social security and insurance, as well as trade union representatives.
The minimum wage is € 8.50 ($ 9.96) per hour.
Those under contract will be reimbursed for the distance traveled during work if they use their own bicycle or scooter and are provided with safety equipment such as helmets and riding vests.
The agreement has been signed with Italy’s largest sector union, FILT CGIL, FIT-CISL and UIL Trasporti.
Just Eat Italy Country Manager Daniele Contini said of the agreement that “all players will benefit, starting with the drivers, but including restaurants and operators.”
The company has operated in Italy for 10 years in more than 1,200 cities, with more than 21,000 partner restaurants, he said.
$ 1 = 0.8533 euros Reporting by Giulia Segreti, Additional reporting by Elvira Pollina; Edited by Bernadette Baum and Dan Grebler