Category: Irish Leader

How Well Do You Know the Legendary Jim Larkin?

“A fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay”, this is one of the commonly used phrases which many people may not be aware that James (Jim) Larkin was the brain behind the quote. Our generation has all the resources including advanced technology yet they are doing very little in bringing the landslide transformational impacts that these heroes and heroines of old brought. This alone implies that we don’t really need to be so complicated so as to bring changes in our community, country and the world at large; the life of Big Jim is a good example.

James Larkin was born in the slums of Liverpool in England on 21st January 1876. He secured various manual jobs and his diligence made him become the foreman at Liverpool docks. He was always looking forward to making everyone have fair working conditions. This made him join the National Union of Dock Laborers (NUDL) and by 1905, he was a permanent trade union organizer.

In 1907, James Larkin was transferred to Dublin because NUDL disliked his strikes, nevertheless. In Dublin, he came up with ITGWU in a bid of ensuring that all workers in Irish Industry to belong to one union irrespective of their skills. This made him in 1908 to come up with legal 8 hours day work for all employees and pension for those over 60years.

With the support of his close friend, James Connolly, they formed Irish Labor Party in 1912 and led various strikes. In 1913, they headed Dublin Lockout strike where over 100,000 workers put down their tools for more than 7 months and finally they got fair employment rights. In all his strikes, he never used violence rather, he used sympathy. In the 1st World War, he called on the Irishmen to pull off from being involved in the war.

James Larkin later went for a tour in the US in 1914 where he joined Socialist Party of America and Industrial Workers of the World. In 1920, he faced a lawsuit and charged with communism which led to his deportation to Ireland and formed Workers’ Union of Ireland (WUI). He fought for benefits of workers till January 1947 when he died.

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