Italy, host of G20, to call for stricter rules for “gig economy”

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ROME (Reuters) – Italy will demand tougher rules governing workers in the “gig economy” when it welcomes labor ministers from the world’s largest economies to the Group of 20 next week.

Italian Labor Minister Andrea Orlando said countries should demand that large companies like Amazon take responsibility for working conditions at their suppliers, as part of reforms to ensure that contractors are treated well.

“Big companies must also take responsibility for small ones. They can no longer say that what is happening outside their hangars does not concern them,” Orlando said, quoted by the Italian daily La Repubblica.

Closures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic have increased demand for casual workers such as food delivery drivers, while cleaners and caregivers have faced health and safety risks.

The G20 summit in Sicily comes as the European Union prepares to propose an EU-wide regulatory framework by the end of the year, and courts and regulators have sought to address the perceived shortcomings in the odd-job economy.

It will also take place amid the anger of the Italian public over the death of a trade unionist who was killed on Friday by a truck driver during a protest against job cuts at US logistics company FedEx.

The unions accuse the outsourcing and use of workforce management algorithms on international platforms of an erosion of rights and wages.

Orlando said it was a challenge to enforce union rules on overseas-based platforms, but that shouldn’t give companies an excuse to bypass employment standards. “It is no coincidence that this will be the subject of the G20,” said Orlando.

(Reporting by Giselda Vagnoni; Editing by Peter Graff)

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