Trade Unionist, James Larkin

James Larkin was born in Ireland. His immigrant parents; Mary Ann McNulty and James Larkin brought him up in slums. Theirs was a struggling family, and James offered his support when he was seven years old. He would go to school and after classes would work so that his family would get something.

This state denied him much formal education, and when his father passed on, he had to quit school. He replaced his father in the company that he worked with. But he only worked with the firm for two years, before he was released.

Employment in Liverpool was not easy to come by, especially for James Larkin, considering that he did not receive much education. He remained unemployed for some time before he landed on a foreman job.

He worked at the docks for quite some time, until a strike that involved foremen took place in 1905. Little did he know that this strike was to transform his life completely.

The National Union of Dock Laborers identified James Larkin and developed an interest towards him. Soon, he joined the union, and a few years later, moved to Dublin.

Jim Larkin did so because of a feud over leadership that involved him and the secretary general of UNDL, James Sexton. James Larkin then deployed militant strikes while in Dublin. He did this without permission from the union. His methods were shocking, and the union had to let him go because they did not agree with him.

James Larkin then formed the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union, ITGWU. He had witnessed the fact that most workers of Irish descent were not treated fairly. This, to him, was not supposed to be so. He, therefore, saw it necessary to bring them all together under one union, both the skilled and those who were unskilled.

The party that followed ITGWU was the Irish Labor Party, which he formed together with James Connolly with the aim of leading strikes to advocate for the rights of workers. The party led several demonstrations and strikes, and so was the lockout of 1913 among. The lockout involved 100,000 workers.

After the great strike, James settled for a few years before moving to the USA. In 1920, he was charged with criminal anarchy and socialism, and was imprisoned. He got pardoned a few years later. James was deported to Ireland the same year. He passed on in 1947.

Learn more about Jim Larkin:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/easterrising/profiles/po08.shtml
http://www.historyireland.com/20th-century-contemporary-history/big-jim-larkin-hero-and-wrecker/