Josh Coleman was not in Kansas anymore.

On Tuesday, the former T-Mobile employee, who was fired after taking a pro-union stance in his Wichita call-centre, stood on a stage in Berlin before hundreds of cheering unionists from all around the world.

The principle of solidarity was manifested in front of the headquarters of Deutsche Telekom (DT), the parent company of Coleman’s former employer, as unionists from the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America gathered to support the #weexpectbetter campaign.

Many speakers accused the company of double standards, given its reputation for fair treatment of DT employees in Germany.

“It is not acceptable to us that you respect rights at home and do the opposite abroad,” said Phil Jennings, general secretary of the UNI Global Union.

“We are defiant. When you knock us down seven times we get up eight.”

In a sign that the Germans do things differently, DT’s senior vice-president for human resources management, Dietmar Frings, attended the protest and received the crowd’s complaints in the form of a letter.

Frings was greeted by polite applause and a few boos, before taking up a position to the side of the stage and recording the speeches on his smartphone.

DT employees took photos on their phones inside the building in the heart of Berlin’s business district, while outside unionists from around the world took turns singing from the stage after arriving by bus from the 3rd ITUC World Congress.

“It’s part of our principle of solidarity between unions,” said Hien Augustin from the Confédération Nationale des Travailleurs Burkinabé (CNTB) in Burkina Faso.

“If a worker somewhere has a problem then it is a problem for all of us, and we want to support them.”

“We have the same problems in Burkina. Union rights aren’t respected and workers can’t organise in the communications sector.”