James Larkin had an incredible contribution in the efforts to fight for workers’ rights in Ireland; he was born on 28 January 1874 in the slums of Liverpool, England. Life was hard in the slums, and he had to work odd jobs to help his family get by.
Larkin worked at the Liverpool docks for a while, and he was promoted to be a foreman where he started his conquest to fight for workers’ rights both skilled and unskilled that he believed were mistreated. In 1905 Larkin joined the National Union of Dock Labourers (NUDL) and became the organizer of the trade union.
The NUDL was not pleased by Larkin militant strike method that he took to help fight for workers’ rights and was moved to Dublin in 1907 where he founded the Irish Transport and General Workers Union (ITGWU).
The following year he came up with the political program for the (ITGWU) that advocated for lesser legal working hours, employment for the unemployed in the society, nationalization of all means of transport, pensions for workers among other things. Read more: James Larkin | Biography and James Larkin | Wikipedia
James Connolly and Larkin who were colleagues at ITGWU formed the Irish Labor Party after the Congress agreed to their terms in 1912. There were a series of strikes that were led by the Labor party, and the most momentous one was held in 1913 where more than 100000 workers went on strike for eight months, and this was dubbed Dublin Lockout. Learn more about Jim Larkin: http://www.rte.ie/centuryireland/index.php/articles/jim-larkin-released-from-prison and http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/easterrising/profiles/po08.shtml
Even though Larkin organized the strikes, there was no violence involved instead he used sympathetic strikes and products boycotting which worked for him. Larkin was faced by various obstacles in his effort to fight for workers’ rights, and the Irish press was in the front line, but luckily he had the needed support behind him.
In 1914, Larkin traveled to the United States and his motive was to raise funds to fight the British, in 1916, Larkin lost his friend James Connolly in the Easter Rising that took place back in Ireland.
In 1920, Larkin was arrested and convicted of communism and criminal anarchy, three years later he was pardoned and deported back to Ireland. Back home he continued with his fight for workers’ rights and formed Workers Union of Ireland, on 30 January 1947 Larkin met his death, but his legacy still lives on.