Jim Larkin: Irish Labor Leader

James Larkin, more popularly known as Jim Larkin, is an Irish labor icon who established the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union, or ITGWU for short. James Larkin was born in Liverpool, England in the 1870s. Poverty was prevalent in the city, and he grew up in the slums.

He only had a little access to proper education when he was a child, but it did not stop him from learning by himself. He read books and learned to write, so that he can find a job that would help him supplement his family’s income. He worked in different jobs when he was younger, until he managed to get into the docks and become a foreman.

While working inside the Liverpool docks, Jim Larkin have noticed how workers are treated unfairly. He developed his interest in socialism after witnessing such acts, and promised that he will do anything in order for the workers to be given fair treatment and compensation.

Jim Larkin joined an organization named the National Union of Dock Laborers, with hopes of bringing change for the benefit of his coworkers, and he became a full time organizer for trade unions in 1905.

During his stay at the organization, he organized strikes which halted the operation of docks across the United Kingdom. This has alarmed the heads of the National Union of Dock Laborers, and he was requested to be transferred to Dublin, Ireland.

During his stay in Dublin, Jim Larkin decided to establish another organization that would help him make his dreams a reality. He established the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union in 1907, with its primary objective of creating a single organization for all Irish workers, both skilled and unskilled.

He then created the Irish Labor Party, which was responsible for a number of strikes in the early 1900s. One of the most significant strikes that were initiated by Jim Larkin was the Dublin Lockout, a protest that has more than 100,000 participants. These protesters went on strike continuously for eight months, and it resulted to them being given fair employment.

After the workers have been recognized and given fair treatment in Dublin, the First World War is looming to unfold. Jim Larkin staged multiple demonstrations across Dublin, to persuade the government not to participate in the war.

He even went to the United States to convince the government of the United States to fight against the British. They did not grant what he requested, and even convicted him of communism and criminal anarchy.

Jim Larkin was pardoned after three years, and he was deported back into his home country of Ireland. After his return, he established the Worker’s Union of Ireland, overseeing the condition of the workers in the country.

He was given recognition from the group Communist International in 1924, and Jim Larkin continues to fight for what he thinks is right. Whenever workers are having issues with their work environment or their employers, Jim Larkin steps in, doing the best that he can to resolve any issues.

Read more:

The Definite Biography of Big Jim Larkin