James Larkin the Workers’ Union Champion

James Larkin contribution etched in many workers mind due to the role he played in trade unions. James hailing from an Irish origin was born on January 21, 1876, Liverpool, England. He received little education due to his family financial status, after working at his father’s previous firm he worked as a sailor and finally as a foreman in the docks. In 1893 he became a member of the Independent Labor Party where he developed his interest in socialism.

In 1905 he participated in strikes at the Liverpool docks; the strike committee chose him and later elevated to become the organizer of National Union of Dock Labourers. In this capacity, he was sent to Scotland where he organized the Preston workers to strike against the Chinese immigration. Read more: James Larkin | Biography

After various ups and downs in NUDL, he formed his union, Irish Transport General Workers Union (ITGWU) which is currently known as Service Industrial Professional and Technical Union (SIPTU).

The union gained popularity in Dublin, Cork, Waterford, and Sligo. He later moved to Dublin which was the headquarters of the union.

He established a newspaper, The Irish Worker, and Peoples Advocate. The press covered on denouncing low pay by employers. Unfortunately, the paper was suppressed in 1915 but later rebranded to the New Ireland Echo.

In 1913 James was involved in the most extended workers strike known as the Dublin Lockout. Dublin employers had resulted in the lockout of its workers due to its non-agreement to the pledge.

It resulted in outsourcing of workers from everywhere aside from Dublin. The strike eventually ended in 1914, despite not achieving its objective for better remuneration, they made history with the worker’s solidarity.

Larkin is mostly remembered for his calls against poverty and injustice and making the oppressed stand up for their rights. After a short stay in the US, he left his footprints in the Industrial Workers of The World. He returned to Ireland where he led to an end of the country’s civil war through his tours across the country.

James Larkin lived his life advocating fair pay for workers. His work is commemorated with songs, literature, and monuments.

 

One Reply to “James Larkin the Workers’ Union Champion”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *