In a letter to the Secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Rosalinda D. Baldoz dated 18 July 2011, the Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL) claimed “labor cooperatives make mockery of the labor code and the doctrines of the Supreme Court.”
APL is alarmed that the workers deployed by these perceived LOCs, including ASIAPRO, in several workplaces are not recognized properly, if at all, as regular employees even if the latter are directly employed by such entities or the companies wherein they supply workers.
“These labor cooperatives were established obviously to circumvent the Labor Code and the doctrines of the Supreme Court,” APL Deputy Secretary General Edwin Bustillos said in a statement.
This is despite the fact that these cooperatives deploy workers in companies that retain the “right to control the means by which the work is done,” which “control test” alone is sufficient to establish employer-employee relationship. The “control test” doctrine has always been the ruling of the high court when it comes to labor-only contracting.
In the latter parts of 2010, the infamous inclusion of the name ASIAPRO in the list of establishments that are said to be operating as labor-only contractors (LOCs) in the guise of a workers’ cooperative prompted trade unionists and researchers to probe the unchecked functioning of workers’ cooperatives in the Philippines. It was just recently, however, when a much brighter light was thrown on these “labor cooperatives” when the labor sector in the country made sense of their burgeoning market.
The APL is thus eager to see the labor department conduct investigations, under their powers in Article 128 of the Labor Code of the Philippines, and visit the workplaces to which these cooperatives deploy their workers.