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UPDATE 1-Court lifts restrictions on Uber Eats Italy after working conditions investigation

·2 min read

(Adds Uber comment)

MILAN, March 4 (Reuters) - A Milan court on Thursday lifted restrictions on the management of an Italian unit of Uber Technologies, imposed last year as part of an investigation into possible exploitation of food delivery riders, a court document showed.

The court said Uber Eats Italy srl, a division of Uber Italy, had complied with judges' orders to improve working conditions for riders including on health and safety, providing necessary equipment as well as sickness and accident coverage.

The president of the panel of judges told Reuters that Uber Italy had also adjusted riders' pay and now pays its riders more than the collective labour agreement signed in Italy last year. He would not say how much they are now paid.

"Uber Italy ... can now present itself on the food delivery market with a new management model that is uniquely geared towards promoting transparency and legality," the court document said.

Uber Italy was placed under so-called judicial supervision in May 2020 while magistrates looked into a case involving around 1,000 delivery riders who were allegedly paid three euros per hour to deliver meals.

A company put under judicial supervision can continue to operate but is run by court-appointed administrators instead of its usual management team. The administrators have to send regular reports to the judges.

Uber Italy said at the time that it had made its Uber Eats platform available to restaurants and couriers in full respect of the law and it condemned any form of illegal intermediation.

"Today's decision is the result of several months of hard work in which we have strived to provide couriers with a safe, rewarding and flexible working environment," Uber Italy said in an e-mailed statement on Thursday, adding it would continue to collaborate with the authorities.

On Wednesday a Milan prosecutor had asked the court to revoke the judicial supervision, saying Uber Italy had met the conditions requested.

In a separate case, Uber Eats Italy was also among four food delivery companies that last month were forced by the Milan public prosecutor's office to hire more than 60,000 riders following an investigation into the working conditions of riders. ( Reporting by Emilio Parodi, Elvira Pollina, Editing by Mark Potter and Susan Fenton)