Asiapro was formed in November 1999 by 60 active members with an objective to provide livelihood opportunities to low-income workers. It is known as a pioneer worker cooperative in the Philippines in terms of population growth, where it has exponentially grown to 65,000 active worker-members in almost 20 years, and in terms of the development of the proper business model fit for the Philippine setting.
The cooperative started its operations by specializing in manpower placement to its clients which has proven to be successful because of its capacity to financially address long term partnership. It has also offered flexible, cost-effective, and socially responsible solutions to its clients’ needs.
Cooperative Best Practices
In a study conducted by Center for Research and Communication, University of Asia and the Pacific, it stated that in one of the best membership practices, client-endorsed recruitment, members feel reassured of the job security in a worker-owned cooperative than in the usual contractual setting. Members perceive Asiapro as an alternative career path where there is less risk of job impermanence. One of the respondent-member of the study said, “Pwede ka pong bumalik dito then ihahanap ka po nila ng ibang work. Hindi ka po nila pababayaan.” (You can come back and they will find you another work. They will not abandon you.) Being a worker-owned cooperative, Asiapro also practices the Six-month Retention Period where, for reasons of unemployment the member has been disengaged from the client, it provides alternative livelihood or deployment to the member. This gives ample time for the member and the cooperative to look for other possible deployment for the member.
Additionally, the cooperative utilizes the surrounding community in terms of recruitment. This enables the cooperative to reach out to the community for employment needs. In one case, Asiapro was able to provide employment to idlers in one of the adjacent barangays in Cagayan de Oro. The cooperative also offers packages of assistance for all members in the form of loans and financial benefits fit to the living situation of the minimum wage earners.
As it strives to continuously provide livelihood opportunities to low-income workers, being a socially relevant organization, Asiapro adapts the Mondragon Corporation as a strategic model in the accomplishment of its goals. Mondragon Corporation is the foremost Basque business group and the tenth largest in Spain. It has been tagged as the largest and most successful worker cooperative in the world. Its goal is for their workers to excel in their work, not only for their clients, but for themselves. This way, the members are able to capitalize on their willpower to sustain their ownership in the cooperative.
Changes in the Labor-only Contracting Landscape
With the recent changes and strict implementation of the regulatory environment in relation to labor-only contracting, the cooperative has thought of new ways to provide sustainable livelihood opportunities to its members. Stipulated as one of the permissible contracting or subcontracting arrangements in the Department Order 174 of Department of Labor and Employment, “The contractor or subcontractor is engaged in a distinct and independent business and undertake to perform the job or work in its own responsibility, according to its own manner and method.” This is precisely what the cooperative has done, from purely providing services, Asiapro is continuously transforming its business into various independent self-managed operations where it owns its enterprises and participates more in fully commercial business-to-business engagements. This enables the cooperative in achieving its purpose of “Inspiring meaningful and fulfilled life with its members.”
Asiapro is a pioneer multipurpose cooperative in the country providing customized managed services solutions to its clients and prides itself in being socially relevant especially to its members. Asiapro is a Bronze winner of Investors in People Award. Sa Asiapro, bawat isa Mahalaga.
To know more: go to www.asiapro.coop