An Uber rider checks his smartphone, Milan, February 24, 2021 | Photo: ANSA / DANIEL DAL ZENNARO
An Uber rider checks his smartphone, Milan, February 24, 2021 | Photo: ANSA / DANIEL DAL ZENNARO

Gloria Bresciani, the (suspended) Uber manager in Italy who is charged with alleged illegal gangmastering practices against riders, has been ordered to stand trial. According to the charges, Bresciani and three other defendants exploited "the state of need" of "migrant asylum seekers" who lived in "reception centers" and "in conditions of extreme vulnerability".

Gloria Bresciani, the (suspended) Uber manager in Italy who is charged with alleged illegal gangmastering practices against 'riders' -- the people who provide home food delivery -- has been ordered to stand trial following an investigation by Milan prosecutor Paolo Storari.

The investigation was carried out by the Italian finance police and also led to a commissioner taking over the Italian branch of the American giant, which was later revoked last March.

The order for Bresciani to stand trial was issued Monday, July 5, by Milan preliminary hearing judge (GUP) Teresa De Pascale. Opening statements have been scheduled for October 18.

The judge also ordered to trial the labor brokerage company FRC, which is a defendant for the law on administrative responsibility, and accepted plea bargains for gangmastering from Leonardo Moltini (three years) and Danilo Donnini (two years, suspended), directors of the labor brokerage company.

Another defendant, Miriam Gilardi, brokered a plea bargain for aiding and abetting (one year, six months).

There are 44 rideres as plaintiffs in all, who work in Milan, Turin, and Florence and who are suing for damages, represented by attorney Giulia Druetta.

Labor union CGIL is also a plaintiff, along with the Chamber of Labor. Uber was cited as the liable party.

For other defendants, such as Giuseppe Moltini, also a director with FRC, a fast-track trial will start on July 19 before the preliminary hearing judge.

Exploitation of vulnerable migrants

Bresciani and the other three charged with gangmastering, according to the charges, "employed and recruited riders" hiring them in Flash Road City and FRC Srl "to then put them to work with the Uber group in conditions of exploitation."

They allegedly took advantage of the "state of need" of "migrant asylum seekers" who lived in "reception centers" and came from "conflict zones (Mali, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Guinea, Pakistan, Bangladesh) and therefore in condition of extreme vulnerability and social isolation."

In particular, the workers were "paid piecemeal three euros", "robbed" of tips and "punished" with cut pay if they didn't follow the rules.

Manager said wasn't involved

At the hearing on Monday, Bresciani responded in her defence during questioning (preliminary hearing behind closed doors) by saying that essentially she "had nothing to do with it" and she was "extraneous" to the alleged worker exploitation.

Her attornery filed some chats with the preliminary hearing judge, which weren't acquired during the proceedings, to support Bresciani's claim of being unrelated to the charges.

Bresciani is charged with illegal gangmastering (through November 2019) with the directors of the companies FRC and Flash Road City: Giuseppe (fast-track trial) and Leonardo Moltini (plea bargain) and Donilo Donnini (plea bargain).

The first of the two stood trial, as did another person who, however, was charged with tax crimes. For tax charges, other defendants chose a fast-track trial.

 

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