Trade Unionist, Jim Larkin

James Larkin was born in 1876 to Irish parents. Having a poor background, they lived in the slums of Liverpool and had to struggle to supplement their daily needs. James Larkin went to school briefly, and at an early age, he had to couple this up with working to provide for his family. Therefore, he would go to school in the morning and later in the afternoon, find some work.

His father passed on while he was still young, and he took over his position at work. He did not, however, maintain this for long as he was dismissed two years later. He was left to struggle with the jobs he could find because he had dependants. Learn more about Jim Larkin: http://www.rte.ie/centuryireland/index.php/articles/jim-larkin-released-from-prison

After a fierce tussle, he finally landed a position at the London Docks, as a docker and foreman. In 1905, James Larkin took part in a strike that involved several foremen. The National Union of Dock Laborers identified him and later accepted him as a temporary member. Later the same year, he was accepted fully into the Union.

NUDL was just the beginning, as James was to form several movements to fight for the rights of workers. Workers in Ireland were not treated fairly. They were rated and employed according to expertise and skill. James felt that this was not right since expertise is something that is gained after some time.

He disagreed with the Secretary-General of the union, James Sexton; so he moved to Dublin. While there, Jim Larkin deployed militant strikes method, without the permission of NUDL. He was dismissed in 1907. He then formed the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union, ITGWU with the aim of uniting Irish workers, both skilled and unskilled. Read more: James Larkin | Biography and Jim Larkin | Wikipedia

James Larkin also formed the Irish Labor Party, which led to the greatest and most significant strike in 1913; the Dublin Lockout. This lockout involved 100,000 workers and more, who went on strike for over eight months. By the end of the strike, an achievement of fair employment was achieved.

James went to the United States, following the outbreak of World War I, a war he held protests and demonstrations against. Following its persistence, James Larkin provided fund aid against the British. He was arrested in 1920 for socialism and criminal anarchy, but the charges were dropped in 1923. James was deported to Ireland where he formed the Workers’ Union of Ireland. This acquired recognition in 1924 from the Communist International.

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