James Larkin: Folk Hero

James Larkin, also known as Big Jim, was born on January 21, 1876. He was born to poor Irish parents in the slums of Liverpool, England. As was common in the area at the time, James received a limited education. His family needed the added income, which led him to take a variety of manual jobs throughout his younger years.

Eventually, he worked his way up to being a foreman at the Liverpool docks. Larkin was an avid socialist, who became committed to securing fairer conditions for laborers. This led him to join the Nation Union Of Dock Labourers. Learn more about Jim Larkin: http://www.irishexaminer.com/lifestyle/artsfilmtv/books/the-definitive-biography-of-big-jim-larkin-372254.html and http://www.rte.ie/centuryireland/index.php/articles/jim-larkin-released-from-prison

In 1905, James became a full-time trade union organizer. By 1907, his militant strike methods had begun to alarm the National Union of Dock Labourers. This earned him a transfer to Dublin, Ireland. It was here that he founded the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union. Read more: James Larkin | Biography and James Larkin – Wikipedia

His aim was to have all laborers, both skilled and unskilled, belong to the same union. He wanted this union to work for the welfare of all the workers. He also coined the phrase “a fair days work for a fair days pay.”

What he fought for was a legal eight hour day, a provision of work for the unemployed, as well as pensions for workers at the age of 60. He also fought for arbitration courts, adult suffrage, and the nationalization of all transportation systems. He wanted the land of Ireland to be for the people of Ireland.

In 1912, Larkin along with James Connolly formed the Irish Labour Party and was responsible for a series of strikes meant to achieve the political program of the Union. The most significant of these strikes was the 1913 Dublin lockout.

It was during this strike that 100,000 workers went on strike for seven months. At this time workers had very few rights and won the right to fair employment. He never used violence as his method, but rather sympathetic strikes and the boycotting of goods.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.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