The life of Workers’ Union Leader Jim Larkin

James Labor is was an Irish labor activist and the founder of “Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union”. ITGWU rose to become the biggest workers union at the time. It, however, went down following the Dublin Lockout.

After this, he left England in 1914 and went into the USA. James Larkin is was born in 1876 in Liverpool, England and died in 1947 in Dublin Ireland.

James grew up in Liverpool and barely had any formal education. He started working in the informal sector before being appointed as a foreman working with Liverpool docks. James believed that most of the workers were discriminated and they rights were not being obeyed by the employers.

It is for this reason that he joined the National Union of Dock Labourers (NUDL), a worker’s union at the time. By 1905 he had turned into full-time workers union activist.

James Larkin was too aggressive in his approach of highlighting the worker’s issues. Many members of the union were uncomfortable with him and he was moved to Dublin in 1907. It is here that he founded the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union.

His aim was to form one strong workers union incorporating both the skilled and unskilled workers. Later he formed the Labour Party which led to a number of industrial action by workers. One of his achievements with the party was the Dublin Lockout. Learn more about Jim Larkin: http://spartacus-educational.com/IRElarkin.htm

Dublin Lockout was a strike he organized that involved over a hundred thousand workers who went on strike for about 8 months claiming unfair treatment by employers. Eventually, their pleas were heard and the rights of workers were improved.

During the World War II, he led thousands of people into demonstrations castigating the violence. It is during this period that he went to the United States to seek funds for his campaigns as well as assistance against the British. However, he was apprehended in 1920 and convicted for communism and criminal anarchy.

Jim Larkin was later released after serving for 3 years and deported back to Ireland. After returning to Ireland he went back to activism and was recognized for his efforts by the Communist International Movement.

James remained active in the workers” activism until the last minute. He became paralyzed after an accident while supervising repair work at the WUI’s Thomas Ashe Hall in late 1946. He later died at the Meath Hospital, Ireland in 1947. James Larkin was married to Elizabeth Brown in 1903 and had four children.

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