Work Together (Archive)

Industrial and service cooperatives in the Asia-Pacific region: challenges for their development

21 November 2016
Although the concept of industrial and service cooperatives has yet to be fully developed in Asia, there are already many of them working in the region. Therefore, to further develop these cooperatives, the most important and urgent thing is to understand who these cooperatives are and to identify the challenges for their development, as well as for a more conducive environment for the fulfilment of their potential. In order to examine this worldwide reality and to gain a greater understanding of those that already exist in the region, CICOPA organized a workshop, together with ICA Asia-Pacific, in the framework of the 12th Regional Assembly of ICA-Asia Pacific, held in New Delhi (India).

Cooperators from Japan, Korea, Philippines, India, Indonesia and Iran learned about a variety of models and experiences of industrial and service cooperatives in Asia and examined the main instruments to develop industrial and service cooperatives in the region. The workshop also addressed the issue of why it is strategically important today to promote industrial and service cooperatives, from the point of view of the creation and preservation of sustainable jobs, their contribution to entrepreneurship and the economy, as well as to local and regional development.

Bruno Roelants, Secretary General of CICOPA, presented the state of the art of industrial and service cooperatives worldwide, while Hyungsik Eum, the CICOPA Data Analyst, explained the preliminary results of the mapping exercise on industrial and service cooperatives in India and Sri Lanka, which is based on the field research carried out last summer.

The President of the Korean Federation of Worker Cooperatives (KFWC), Park Kang-tae, explained the general situation of worker cooperatives in Korea and gave an example of the conversion of a private enterprise into a worker cooperative. The Director of the Japan Worker Cooperatives Union (JWCU), Tashima Yasutoshi, explained their work in the context of increasing unemployment and discussed the efforts being made to integrate young people within cooperatives.

Different experiences from the region were also presented: India (ULCCS and the Kerala State Federation of Labour Cooperatives), Iran (Iran Chamber of Cooperatives), Philippines (Union of Labour Service Cooperatives) and Indonesia (new initiatives concerning Labour cooperatives). Participants also discussed the strategies for developing industrial and service cooperatives in the region, including the creation of a CICOPA regional network.

Furthermore, during the Workshop on University Cooperatives on the same day, a screening was held of the Working Together for a Cooperative Future video, which shares the stories of young cooperators and has been produced by CICOPA. Bruno Roelants also took the opportunity to present the Youth Cooperative Entrepreneurship campaign, which is currently being developed by CICOPA.