Jim Larkin- A historical figure in workers’ unions

James Jim Larkin is an Irish trade unionist and a socialist activist. He was born in Liverpool, England by Irish parents. He started working from a very young age since he never had an opportunity to attended school to the levels he would have wished to. Read more: James Larkin | Biography and The Definite Biography of Big Jim Larkin – Irish Examiner

Larkin who was born in 1874 moved to Ireland in 1907 and founded a workers union known as Irish Transport and General Workers Union. Although he is departed, his contributions during the Dublin Lockout remains one of his best achievements.

Jim Larkin lived in the slums of Liverpool where he would attend school in the morning hours and work in the afternoons to supplement the income his family was getting. At the age of 14, his father died, and he got a chance to be promoted to the firm his father worked for. However, as fate would have it, he was sacked two years later.

Larkin developed interests in socialism in 1893 when he joined the Independent Labour party. As a socialist, he led workers of the Liverpool dock into a strike. He lost his position as a foreman in the Liverpool dock but was given a position by the dock workers organization.

He was first appointed an organizer before he was permanently appointed as the workers’ leader. As a leader of the National Dock Labourers Union (NDLU), he organized workers not only in Liverpool but other parts such as Glasgow and Preston.

1n 1907, Jim Larkin started organizing successful strikes in Ireland. He brought workers groups together to create meaningful strikes and protests. In 1908, he organized strikes in Dublin, Cork, and Waterford. He was however accused of going against the organization when organizing the strikes and was expelled from NDLU.

Larkin founded another organization known as Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union. He cooperated with other organization including NDLU branches in Cork and Waterford. He later established a newspaper for workers known as The Irish Workers. The newspaper raised issues affecting the workforce.

Jim Larkin died in 1947. He was celebrated for the contributions he made in fighting for the rights of workers in Ireland. There is a statue in Dublin erected in remembrance of his great work.


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