We are held hostage by an algorithm that calculates daily routes for us and demands an average of 140 deliveries during an eight-hour shift — that’s the claim by Daniele, a third-party delivery driver for Amazon in Italy.
According to the Financial Times, Daniele — whose surname wasn’t disclosed — said he noticed hundreds of euros worth of traffic tickets being deducted from his €1,600 ($1,800) monthly salary last year.
Protesting in Castel San Giovanni — a town and comune in the province of Piacenza — last week, Daniel said the parking offenses were a result of the company’s demanding delivery schedule.
Amazon Italy has rejected claims that delivery drivers are put under pressure by its algorithm, claiming workers benefit from national collective bargaining.
However, Daniele said drivers “are expected to deliver on package every three minutes. Of course we speed, or park the van on driveways, and then the company makes us pay the fines.”
The protest held last week was the first nationwide action among Amazon’s 9,500 staff in Italy and is the latest hurdle for companies in the gig economy.
At the same time, prime minister Mario Draghi’s new coalition government is working with Spain to set up new regulations for workers and pushing for coordination on gig workers’ rights across the EU.
“I support the need to find some form of protection for these new types of [business] relationships,” labour minister Andrea Orlando, told the Financial Times. “This means helping to build an efficient and orderly system.”
It comes weeks after Amazon delivery drivers across the US were forced to consent to AI-powered cameras in their delivery vehicles or face losing their jobs.
As previously covered by UNLEASH, the e-commerce giant required all its drivers to sign a biometric consent form, which provides it with information about the drivers’ location and movement, as well as collecting biometric data like facial recognition.
Yessi Bello Perez is a contributor at UNLEASH. The former editor of UNLEASH, Yessi is a seasoned technology and business journalist passionate about technology, people, and the future of work. She is a regular contributor to Times Radio in the UK. She also co-hosted a podcast for fDi Intelligence (Financial Times) and wrote a column about rising startup ecosystems. Yessi’s work has featured in several other leading publications including the Evening Standard, The Next Web (TNW), and UKTN. She is a sought-after panelist, event host, speaker, and moderator at technology events.