The revolution of trade unions by James Larkin

James Larkin commonly known as Jim Larkin was a renowned activist for the workers in Dublin. He was Irish but born in Liverpool in 1876. He did not study much but he was very organized and fought for fair conditions for workers. He joined the National Union of Dock Labourers, NUDL, where he later became a full-time trader.

During his time there, he organized militant methods of striking for the rights of workers. The NUDL did not support his methods of striking and in 1907 they sent him to Dublin to work there. While at Dublin, he started the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union.

The Union was meant to ensure the welfare of all workers, unskilled and skilled, in the industry was met. The Union was the largest in that region but it was demolished after the Lockout of Dublin. Learn more about Jim Larkin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=62B9_xQpw0A

The Lockout of Dublin was one of the largest strikes that James organized. More than 100 thousand workers went on strike for almost eight months to fight for fair employment. They won the case eventually. Read more: The Definite Biography of Big Jim Larkin

In 1903 James got married to Elizabeth Brown and together, they had 4 children. Jim Larkin was a strong believer in leading by example. In 1914, Larkin moved to the United States to try and raise money for fighting the British. In 1923, he was deported to Dublin after been given a pardon after being convicted of communism and rebellion.

When he was deported back to Dublin it was not as welcoming for him as all what he had formed previously was destroyed and in chaos. During the 1920s and 1930s, James focused on rebuilding relationships.

Jim Larkin continued organizing labor movements in Dublin in the 1940’s. In 1941, he fought for the housing problem using his role in the Dublin Corporation and Dublin trades council to rebel against the Trade Union Act. This is what helped him earn back his respect and recognition and this led to his election to the Labor TD in Dublin, North East region, in 1943.

In Dublin, he was recognized by the Communist International for his organization of the Workers’ Union. James continued with his activism until the very end. He died at the age of 71 in Dublin. 50 years after the Lockout, his legend was commemorated.

James is remembered for the revolution of trade unions and fighting to end the dependence on British labor laws. He introduced moral methods that represented both the skilled and unskilled workers which have since been embraced by many trade unions.