JAMES LARKIN: THE IRISH TRADE UNIONIST

James Larkin was one of the most active trade unionists in Ireland. The activist fought passionately for the rights of Irish workers and even founded the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union.The socialist from Ireland was an ardent supporter of the Marxist union.

Although the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union ended after the huge worker’s lockout in Dublin, James Larkin’s labor organization and activism continued. He even traveled to America to carry out his activities.

However, luck was not on his side as he was eventually deported due to criminal charges. Before forming the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union, he had already been a member of National Union of Dock Labourers (NUDL). He joined the union when he worked at the Liverpool Docks as a foreman. The Irish leader joined the union because he didn’t like the way workers were being treated.

In 1905, Larkin left his post and became a fully fledged trade unionist. However, the dock union didn’t resonate with his hard-line military methods of dealing with issues especially after he organized a strike. Read more: The Definite Biography of Big Jim Larkin

Eventually, in 1907 they transferred him to Dublin and while here he formed the ITGWU. The main aim of this organization was to unite all Irish workers regardless of their position. The union was able to bring together skilled workers, industrial workers, and unskilled workers into one union.

The trade unionist also started another union called Irish Labour Party which was able to bring several significant strikes into fruition. In 1913, the union held the Dublin Lockout and this was one of their biggest assets. During this strike over 100,000 Irish workers were able to strike for eight months and they were able to gain fair employment rights.

James Larkin was against World War 1 and he led various protests in Dublin that demonstrated this. In addition to this, he traveled to America to look for funds to battle the British. However, this led to him being persecuted for communism and criminal anarchy in 1920 and eventual deportation back to his home country. When he returned home, James Larkin was able to form the Workers’ Union of Ireland. In 1924, he was recognized by the Communist International.

Additional Facts About James Larkin:

James Larkin was born in Liverpool, England on January 21st, 1876. The active trade unionist was married to Elizabeth Brown. The couple got married in 1903 and their union was able to produce four sons.

James Larkin was able to go down history books as the founding father of Irish Trade Unions. Before forming The Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union, most Irish workers belonged to British based labor unions.