The Admirable Life of James Larkin in Fighting for Workers’ Rights

James Larkin was a renowned social activist who achieved tremendous success as an Irish Trade Union Leader.

He was born on January 21, 1876, to Irish emigrants parents in the slum of Liverpool, England. James was raised in an impoverished household hence acquired little formal education and had to do casual labor as a child to supplement income to his family. Read more: James Larkin | Biography

It was in 1893 where he developed an interest in socialism. James joined the National Union of Dock Labourers (NUDL) in 1905 after they took notice of his bold action in a strike on the Liverpool Docks which eventually led to him losing his job at the docks as a foreman.

In 1906, James Larkin was sent to Scotland to organize workers in Preston and Glasgow. He succeeded in his task, and the union gave him a permanent task. In 1907, Jim led a militant strike campaign against the Chinese immigration.

NUDL was not happy with his action, and they moved him to Dublin. This is where he founded his Legendary Irish Based Union called the Irish Transport and General Workers Union (ITGWU).

Jim believed that Irish workers were neglected by the British based unions and therefore, the main aim of his union was to fight for equal rights and better job conditions for both skilled and unskilled laborers in Ireland as a united front. In 1912, he partnered with James Connolly and formed the Irish Labour Party.

His greatest achievement to date was The Dublin Lockout of 1913 where more than 100,000 employees went on strike for almost eight months and won the claim to fair employment conditions.

In 1914, James Larkin traveled to the United States to raise funds to fight the British but was later deported in 1920 after being convicted of criminal anarchy and communism.

In 1924, he secured recognition from Communist International after he organized the Workers Union of Ireland. He continued his labor organizing activities and died on January 30, 1947, in Dublin, Ireland.

James Larkin is a historic figure who played an important role in the establishment of labor movements to better working conditions.