Jim Larkin, a Trade Unionist

Jim Larkin is a historical figure and was born on January 21st, 1876, in Liverpool England. He was the second eldest son of Irish immigrant parents James Larkin and Mary Ann McNulty. Jim came from a low-income family that lived in the slums of Liverpool. For this reason from the age of seven, Jim attended school in the morning hours and worked in the afternoons to help supplement the family income.

It was a common phenomenon for the working class families at that time. Larkin did not have the chance to have a good formal education thus did various manual jobs which later saw him become a foreman at the Liverpool docks.

Larkin developed an interest in socialism in 1893 and became a member of the independent labor party. In 1905 Larkin was one of the foremen who participated in a strike on the Liverpool docks. The strike did cost him his job, however; his performance impressed the National Union Dock Laborers (NUDL) who appointed him as the union organizer.

James Larkin preferred to use the militant strike methods and this did not go down well with the NUDL. As a result, he was transferred to Dublin in 1907, and it was here where he started the Irish Transport and General Workers Union ( ITGWU).

The union was founded with the aim of bringing together all the Irish industrial workers, whether skilled or unskilled to one umbrella body that would represent them. The establishment of ITGWU marked the birth of the first modern Irish labor movement in Dublin. About 10% of the Irish workers at that time were members of labor organizations which were mostly British based unions.

Jim Larkin, later on, founded the Irish Labor Party and was in the forefront in organizing a series of strikes. Larkin will be remembered for leading the Dublin Lockout strike in 1913, where more than 100,000 workers participated in the strike that lasted for nearly eight months. Their grievances were finally listened to, and they eventually won the right to fair employment.

Larkin also led major anti war demonstrations in Dublin on the eve of World War 1. He then traveled to the United States of America to solicit for funds to fight the British. This would later land him to problems where he was convicted in 1920 of criminal anarchy and communism.

Jim Larkin was pardoned after serving three years behind bars and deported back to Ireland where he continued participating in labor unions activities.

Read more: Jim Larkin – Biography and Jim Larkin | Wikipedia