James Larkin was born in Liverpool England on 21st January 1876 in a humble family. He is a renowned labor activist and organizer and brought about the birth of modern Irish labor laws. He grew up in the slums and acquired little formal education. To supplement the income of his family, he started working at a tender age in different jobs and eventually became a foreman at Liverpool docks. Learn more about Jim Larkin: http://ireland-calling.com/james-larkin/
Jim believed that workers were mistreated and agitated for better terms and conditions at work. He joined the National Union of Dock Laborers (NUDL) at a time when only less than 10% of workers were unionists. In 1905, he dedicated his life to fighting for the welfare of workers. The National Union of Dock Laborers did not like his method of agitation and in 1907, he was moved to Dublin.
It is at this point that he formed a trade union for workers within the transport sector as well as other general workers commonly known as ITGWU. This union majorly comprised of Irish skilled and unskilled workers.
In 1912, together with James Connolly, they formed the Irish Labor Party. This party was involved in a series of strikes, the most notable being the Dublin Lockout where more than 100,000 workers struck for eight months and were eventually given fair working conditions. Larkin’s method of striking never used violence but rather boycotted goods as well as the use of sympathetic methods.
During the World War I, he staged many antiwar demonstrations in Dublin. He urged the Irish people to fight only for Ireland and not for any other land. Read more: James Larkin | Biography and James Larkin – Wikipedia
In 1914, he moved to the US for public speaking on labor issues and also raised funds to fight against the British. He joined some trade unions in the US agitating for fair employment conditions for industrial workers.
In 1920, he was convicted but later he was forgiven and was taken back to Ireland. In 1924, he formed a trade union for Irish workers and was recognized by Communist International.
He continued working towards the betterment of workers conditions till his death on 30 January 1947. He is greatly remembered for his slogan ‘a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay.’