Opera to Create Unique Grassroots Browser

Opera, Labour and Society International partner to create Opera LabourStart Browser

OSLO, Norway – Feb. 8, 2001

Opera Software ASA and Labour and Society International have partnered in bringing trade unions worldwide the opportunity of creating unique national and international online grassroots networks by combining the portal LabourStart, the world’s premiere online source of trade union news, and Opera’s browser… The biggest Dutch and Norwegian trade unions have already signed onto the project, with more expected to follow suit. In Norway, the FAFO Institute for applied social science is a partner running the Norwegian LabourStart site (in Norwegian) and is assisting in the distribution of the browser.

The Opera LabourStart Browser will have a customized Splash screen, start pages, and hotlists, in addition to the regular functionality of the browser. The browser is offered free of charge both to the trade unions as well as to their members.

“The opportunity of making the Opera LabourStart Browser opens up new opportunities to Opera,” says Jon S. von Tetzchner, CEO of Opera Software, “With the power of the world’s largest grassroots movements behind us in helping to distribute Opera, we will see thousands of new users joining in on Opera’s Internet experience.”

“The Opera LabourStart Browser will provide a new, unique way for union members worldwide to stay updated, communicate and act instantly on union issues,” says Eric Lee, Information and Communications Technology Co-ordinator for Labour and Society International, “At the same time union activists can be sure they are using a great piece of software that is also not hostile to their cause,” he adds.

The trade unions in the Netherlands and in Norway have already seized upon the opportunity and signed up for the project.

“I think the idea of having a specific trade union web browser is good. The browser may become an important tool for union representatives working across national borders. It is with particular pleasure that we note that a Norwegian company is producing the browser, and that this company has an open attitude to trade unionism,” says Gerd-Liv Valla, Vice President of the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) with over 800 000 members.

“A union browser with lots of Dutch union bookmarks. That’s exactly what my members need!” says Lodewijk de Waal, Chairman of FNV, the biggest Dutch Union federation with 1.2 million members.

The Opera LabourStart Browser has been met with enthusiasm from several other union officials around the world, who praise both its usefulness as a grassroots communications tool, as well as its inherent features and functionality.

“LabourStart is already a very useful pointer to worldwide labor news. A global trade union web browser will be a valuable addition to this excellent resource,” says Fred Higgs, General Secretary of the 20-million-strong International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers’ Unions (ICEM)

“Opera 5 is a terrific browser… it loads fast on both the newest equipment and on my cranky older computer at home. It even has bells and whistles missing on the big two — a pull down control to make type larger and smaller, lots of keyboard shortcuts for even faster operation — and a print preview feature missing from Internet Explorer. Opera makes it easy for me to view two web sites at once — a great feature when I’m posting to the LabourStart page! My favorite new feature is the built in Google search slot,” says Gretchen B. Donart, Communications Organizer, Seattle Union Now, AFL-CIO

The Norwegian and Dutch versions of the Opera LabourStart Browser will be made available for download from www.labourstart.org/opera.shtml, as well as from the participating unions own Web site. They will be made available from today.

Second Heading

About Labour and Society International (LSI)

LSI works for human rights in the global workplace through advocacy, education and research, in partnership with trade unions and civil society organisations. LSI seeks to link the trade union movement with other parts of civil society and to help unions to develop a wider agenda. The organization was formed in 1994. Learn more about LSI at www.lsi.org.uk

About LabourStart

Launched in 1998, it is the international labor movement’s premiere portal Website. With nearly 100 volunteer correspondent s based on every continent, it provides 24-7 coverage of labor news. In addition to the Website, LabourStart offers a “Labour Newswire” service which, free of charge, places continuously updated labor news headlines on more than 130 trade union Websites.

The LabourStart Web sites can be found at:

About Opera Software

Opera Software ASA is an industry leader in the development of Webbrowsers for the desktop and embedded markets, partnering withcompanies such as IBM, AMD, Symbian, Canal+ Technologies, Ericsson,Sharp and Lineo (now a division of Embedix). The Opera browser hasreceived international recognition from end users and the industrypress for being faster, smaller and more standards-compliant than otherbrowsers. Opera is available on Windows, Mac, Linux/Solaris, OS/2,Symbian OS and QNX. Opera Software ASA is a privately held companyheadquartered in Oslo, Norway. Learn more about Opera at www.opera.com.



Eric Lee
Information and Communications Technology Coordinator
Tel: +44 20 8349 1975
E-mail: ericlee@labourstart.org


Magne Svendsen
Web Editor
Tel: +47 64 86 15 20
E-mail: magnesve@online.no

FAFO Institute

Espen Loken
Tel: +47 22 08 87 16
E-mail: Espen.Loken@fafo.no