Where trade unionists start their day on the net.
Questions? Comments? Need help? Come to our special open discussion forum for trade unionists on the subject of the Opera browser!
Latest news

17.5.02 We launch our first new version in a year -- Opera 6.01 for trade unionists. Download your free copy here!

Press coverage from our launch in 2001

21.2.01 Unions launch free web browser [in English]

21.2.01 The Industry Standard Unions link up to the Web: Opera has teamed up with trade union group Labourstart to develop a free Web browser just for unions [in English]

19.2.01 Beyond the website: unions need to start thinking about software - by Eric Lee [in English]

17.2.01 Parool Digitale klassenstrijd - Het proletariaat heeft een nieuw wapen gevonden in de klassenstrijd: met een vakbondsbrowser kunnen de arbeiders elkaar voortaan internationaal informeren via internet Worth checking out just for the graphic! [in Dutch]

16.2.01 01Net Les syndicats surfent sur un air d'Opera 5.0 [in French]

16.2.01 Opera i støtet [in Norwegian]

14.2.01 Internet ACTU Opéra... syndical [in French]

12.2.01 de Volkskrant Speciale bondsbrowser gaat grootkapitaal te lijf [in Dutch]

8.2.01 Efront - Beta News Opera to Create "Grassroots" Browser [in English]

9.2.01 The Mac Junkie Opera To Create Unique Grassroots Browser [in English]

9.2.01 Webwereld Vakbondsleden krijgen 'browser op maat' van Opera [in Dutch]

9.2.01 Aftenposten Faforeningene velger seg Opera [in Norwegian]

9.2.01 Computerworld Opera for fagforeninger [in Norwegian]

8.2.01 Computer Sweden Opera gör webbläsare för facket [in Swedish]

8.2.01 Metall Opera gör webbläsare för facket [in Swedish]

8.2.01 LO (Norwegian national trade union center) Opera for fagbevegelsen [in Norwegian]

8.2.01 Newsbytes Opera Develops First Political Party Web Browser Warning: this article is temporarily offline [in English]

8.2.01 Planet Multimedia FNV-leden krijgen eigen internetbrowser [in Dutch]

8.2.01 Golem Network NewsOpera kooperiert mit Gewerkschaften Speziell angepasster Opera 5.0 für Gewerkschaftsmitglieder [in German]

8.2.01 Heise Online Gewerkschaften sollen Opera auf die Sprünge helfen [in German]

8.2.01 Internet News Opera Launches a Trade Union Browser [in English]

8.2.01 BrowserWatch Opera Releases Branded LabourStart Browser [in English]

8.2.01 Bergens Tidende Opera synger "Internasjonalen": Fagforeninger verden over tar i bruk nettleseren til norske Opera Software [in Norwegian]

8.2.01 ITavisen: Opera til grasrota LO pløyer vei for norsk nettleser [in Norwegian]

8.2.01 Opera-knep kan skaffe dem millioner av brukere [in Norwegian]

8.2.01 Opera Software - Press Release Opera to create unique grassroots browser: Opera, Labour and Society International Partners to Create Opera LabourStart Browser [in English]

What trade unionists are saying

"In the 21st century, trade unions and their members around the globe will increasingly use the internet to communicate. The LabourStart/Opera browser encourages this by providing, as standard, bookmarks for a broad range of trade union resources currently on the web."
- Bill Jordan, General Secretary, International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU)

"LabourStart is already a very useful pointer to worldwide labour news. A global trade union web browser will be a valuable addition to this excellent resource."

"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."

"A union browser with lots of Dutch union bookmarks. That's exactly what my members need!"

    Lodewijk de Waal - Chairman of FNV, the biggest Dutch Union federation

"At last! A labour web browser, which is quick to download, runs fast and doesn't kill your computer. Download it now, and get a ready-made set of union bookmarks. Let's hope there's even more union customisation in the pipeline . . ."

"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."

    Gretchen B. Donart - Communications Organizer, Seattle Union Now, AFL-CIO

Welcome to the world's first trade union web browser!

LabourStart and Opera Software announce the first-ever co-branded trade union Internet software

What's a trade union web browser?

By a trade union web browser, we mean one which has specific features built-in that make it more useful for trade unionists than an ordinary browser.

What kinds of features?

For example:

  • It has to be free. Members of our unions are not going to buy software when monopolistic companies like Microsoft are giving it away.

  • It has to work on computers that aren't necessarily the very latest word in hardware. Our members can't always afford to buy a new computer every two years.

  • It has to download quickly. Workers cannot afford to pay telephone companies by the minute while waiting for a 20 MB download which could take hours. (Have you checked out the size of Netscape's latest offering?)

  • It has to include links to dozens of useful sites for trade unionists -- and when it tries to sell me something like books, it had better be from a unionized business.

  • It has to work in my language. Respect for others' culture and languages has long been a basic value of the trade union movement.

  • The default homepage shouldn't be Microsoft Network (MSN) or Netscape Netcenter, which are little more than online shopping malls, but something more useful to trade unionists. Like, for example, Labourstart.

  • Finally, the company that makes the browser has to be, at the very least, not hostile to trade unions.

Why Opera?

  • Opera is now free. (It wasn't before December 2000, but it is now.)

  • Opera will work on older computers because it's a slim, fast browser. You don't need the latest Pentium XX to use it.

  • Nothing downloads faster than Opera -- it is the smallest, thinnest, fastest browser around. And it works faster than the other browsers, too -- something you'll notice if you're connecting to the net by modem.

  • The new LabourStart co-branded version of the browser has links to union businesses and to dozens of other resources. Want to know what the fundamental rights of trade unionists are, according to the International Labour Organization? We've got those documents built into the bookmarks. Want to find a trade union website? You won't find a better directory than the one we've specially created.

  • This browser speaks your language. We're introducing the union browser in the three languages in which LabourStart currently appears - English, Dutch and Norwegian. Each language version has dozens of links to labour sites in that language. Other languages may follow.

  • The default home page of this browser is LabourStart -- and if you're taking the Norwegian or Dutch editions, you get the Norwegian or Dutch versions of LabourStart as your default home page.

  • Opera has a policy of not discouraging trade union membership among its employees, some of whom are trade union members, which makes sense as it is based in Norway -- a country with one of the highest rates of trade union density in the world. At the present time, none of the three major browsers are made by unionized workforces, though we hope that Opera will be the first to have a recognized union. (See the comment below by a leader of Norway's trade union movement.)

  • There are loads of other good reasons to pick Opera - multiple windows, built-in search engine, built-in instant messaging with ICQ, etc. But, hey, you can always visit Opera's home page to learn about these right?

Why LabourStart?

LabourStart is the world's premiere online source of trade union news. With 100 correspondents based on every continent, it has become an invaluable resource for activists.

By starting your day with its page as your home page, you can stay in touch as never before with the latest developments in the international labour movement.

What's not to like?

We'd be dishonest if we told you that the Opera web browser was perfect. It isn't. So we thought we'd share a few of things that are wrong with it:

To make the browser free, Opera stuck an advertising banner in the corner of the screen. Yes, this is annoying. But Microsoft and Netscape are really doing the same thing, just in different ways, slightly more discrete. And anyway, if you really can't take it, you can buy a copy of Opera without the ads.

And Opera, being 100% standards-compliant, does not render HTML pages the way Internet Explorer does. Some pages which may be in incorrect HTML but which are tolerated by Internet Explorer will not display properly in Opera. This is also true of certain JavaScripts.

Also, for those of you using languages other than English, you might not be happy with Opera's inability in this current version to work with Unicode, which is the best way to display languages. Though we understand this is being taken care of in future versions.

Remember that when you upgrade to future versions of Opera, you will retain the bookmarks and home page you've gotten through this labour browser, so do feel free to upgrade once Opera fixes these things.

Download now!

Important! If you already have Opera installed on your PC, click here. If you don't, continue reading . . .

The following versions of the browser are available. Please download from the site nearest to you to reduce strain on LabourStart's own server. Thanks.


British flag. Irish flag. US flag. Canadian flag. Australian flag. New Zealand flag. South African flag.
English language

UK site: Download
Canadian site: Download

Norwegian flag.
Norwegian language - with special Norwegian bookmarks

Norwegian site: Download (Version 5.02)

Dutch flag.
Dutch language - with special Dutch bookmarks

Netherlands site: Download (Version 5.02)


Versions for other operating systems (Linux, Mac) - coming soon. We will announce their availability here.


If you already have Opera on your PC and you then download version 5.11 from here, you'll get a nice new browser, but it won't give you our bookmarks (hot list). To obtain this file -- which should replace Opera5.adr on your PC, click here to download it:
English - Dutch - Norwegian. Remember -- this is only for those of you who have already downloaded Opera before. (Included in the zipped file is the hotlist, called Opera5.adr; if you install this in your Opera directory, it will replace your existing Opera bookmarks, if you have any.)


We'd like to thank the following websites for mirroring the software downloads -- you might want to check them out:

Problems? Questions? Suggestions?

Come to our Open Discussion Forum and we'll try to help out.

How you can help

  • Download and use it yourself. Tell your friends how great it is. When you see fellow workers using Microsoft Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator on their computers, point out that there is an alternative. Make sure that this labour web browser becomes the standard in trade union offices in your country.

  • Help us create mirror sites. If you can, put a copy of Opera (the zipped version) on your site and encourage your visitors to download it. Make sure we know about this so we can add your site the list above of mirror sites -- write to

  • Add an Opera button to your website - linking to this page (or if you're allowing downloading of the software from your site -- use the button for that). You have a wide selection of buttons here Make sure those buttons link to this page.

  • If you know what you're doing, come by our Open Discussion Forum and maybe help others who are having difficulties downloading, configuring or using the browser. (Not everyone is a computer wizard, you know.)

    A final word - to trade union webmasters

    LabourStart is now designed using Opera as the default browser. That means that when we make any change to the site (or to any of the dozens of websites we design for the labour movement) we view it first in Opera. Why? Because of Opera's strict compliance with standards, pages that render correctly in Opera will also be fine in the other browsers. If, however, you are viewing your pages only in, say, Internet Explorer - watch out; people who use Netscape Navigator may not be seeing them correctly. Good web designers will have copies of all the current browsers on their systems, but if you're going to test view your pages in one, use Opera.