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UK tells Uber Eats, Deliveroo and Just Eat to tighten rider account controls

LONDON (Reuters) -Britain’s interior ministry has told food delivery firms Uber Eats, Deliveroo and Just Eat to implement stricter controls to end the practice of unchecked account sharing by their drivers and riders over worries about illegal and underage workers.

Food delivery companies make initial checks on those who want to work for them, ensuring their age and their legal right to work in Britain. But once approved, the rider can sub-contract their accounts to others, who have not been checked.

“Unchecked account sharing places the public at risk, enables – and therefore encourages – illegal migration, and leads to the exploitation of workers,” Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick said in a statement after he met the three companies on Tuesday.

Immigration officials had already made over 380 arrests involving food delivery drivers so far this year, the government said.

Riders work for the meal delivery companies on a self employed basis that gives them a legal right to subcontract deliveries to a substitute.

Just Eat said it was working closely with the government on the issue.

“At Just Eat, we have high standards and a robust criteria in place for couriers delivering on our behalf,” a spokesperson said.

“This includes ensuring couriers are over the age of 18, carrying out basic criminal checks (DBS), and making sure they have the right to work in the UK.”

The spokesperson said an account holder was responsible for ensuring their substitute met the necessary standards.

“If we find that our high expectations are not met, we will immediately take action, including removing couriers from our network,” the spokesperson said.

Deliveroo said it had “a zero tolerance approach” towards any rider who failed to meet their legal obligations.

“We take our responsibilities extremely seriously,” a spokesperson said.

“We have introduced facial recognition technology which will help to counter any abuse on the platform and, as outlined to the Minister this morning, we plan to strengthen this. We will continue to work in close collaboration with the Home Office to support efforts in this area.”

(Reporting by Sarah Young and Paul Sandle; editing by William James and Tomasz Janowski)

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