James (Jim) Larkin was trade unionist and activist. He rose to become popular in the history of Ireland. Jim is known for his transformative leadership at the ITGWU- the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union.
Jim was born in 1876 in the slums of Liverpool, England. With little formal education, Jim undertook various manual jobs to supplement his family’s income before joining the Liverpool docks as a foreman. Read more: James Larkin | Biography
As a committed socialist, the Irish leader believed that workers were entitled to fair treatment. In his quest to improve workers’ condition, Mr. Larkin joined the National Union of Dock Laborers (NUDL). In 1905, he set his career as a full-time trade union organizer. Learn more about Jim Larkin: http://www.irishexaminer.com/lifestyle/artsfilmtv/books/the-definitive-biography-of-big-jim-larkin-372254.html
The NUDL was not impressed by Jim Larkin’s militant strike methods. To this end, they transferred him to Dublin in 1907. His arrival in Dublin was marked by the establishment of the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union (ITGWU).
ITGWU sought to combine all industrial workers, both skilled and unskilled, under one organization. ITGWU aimed to ensure that pensions are provided to all workers at the age of 60, legal 8-hours day, provision of work for all unemployed individuals and compulsory arbitration courts. The union sought to attain adult suffrage and nationalization of railways, canals and all means of transport.
In collaboration with James Connolly, the trade unionist formed Irish Labour Party in 1912. He led several strikes. The notable one being the 1913 Dublin Lockout that saw over 100,000 workers strike for close to 8 months. The strike bore fruits, as they eventually won the right to fair employment.
Larkin did not use violence during strikes. He only focused on sympathetic strikes and boycott of products. When the First World War broke, Larkin held massive anti-war demos. He moved to the U.S. to raise funds to fight the British.
While here, Jim joined the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) before he was deported to Ireland in 1920 after being convicted for criminal anarchy and communism. In 1924, He established Workers’ Union of Ireland (WUI).