Unions launch free web browser

Local trade unionists have teamed up with Opera Software to launch a free browser that steers people to resources on health and safety, workers rights and globalisation.

The local labour movement is stepping up its global presence with a joint-venture web browser.The free LabourStart/Opera browser is a joint venture between the LabourStart global online union news service and the Norway-based Opera Software company.

LabourStart's Eric Lee says the current US-built browsers have little sympathy with the trade union movement and tend to steer users towards preferred or selected partners, hoping they will buy something, "like good consumers".

LabourStart's customised web browser steers people to online resources covering health and safety, workers rights and globalisation. It also offers email, ICQ instant messages and a guide to building better websites.

PSA "web guru" Peter Hall-Jones says the browser will be implemented on PCs at his union. "For lower-end Pentiums the browser is hot. The reason is it's Opera, a two megabyte download. It's twice as fast as Explorer 3.02. It does almost everything Navigator and Explorer does. It's a ripper," Hall-Jones says.

Meanwhile two New Zealand volunteer correspondents are supplying labour-related stories to a global network. Wellington-based Graeme Whip and Angie Croft of Invercargill will supply links to labour-related stories supplied by unions and news media websites.

Downloads are available from www.labourstart.org/opera.shtml.

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