Anytime the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union comes to mind, the name James Larkin automatically pops into the picture. He was an Irish activist and labor organizer that fought to ensure workers received fair payment for their job.
James Larkin’s motivation to fight for the rights of laborers came from his experience while working for various companies. The experience convinced him that the treatment employers gave their laborers was unfair, and it was necessary to push for better working conditions.
Trade Union Organizer
James Larking as a committed socialist, he joined the National Union of Dock Laborers (NUDL). At this time, he was a foreman at the Liverpool docks. After joining the union, he became a trade union organizer working full-time. James Larking was an ambitious and aggressive individual who would go to great lengths to accomplish his mission.
The NDUL did not approve of his alarming militant strike strategies and transferred him to Dublin.
The Irish Transport and General Workers Union and Irish Labor Party
In 1907, James Larkin arrived in Dublin and worked on founding the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union. The idea behind the formation of the union was to combine all the Irish laborers. James Larkin believed a combination of all skilled and unskilled industrial workers would give the union enough power to push for reforms.
For example, the Dublin Lockout of 1913 involved over 100,000 laborers who took part in a strike that lasted 8 months. In the same year, 1907, James Larkin formed the Irish Labor Party whose responsibility was to lead workers’ strikes.
The Fight against World War I
When World War I began, James Larking did his best to stop its continuation. He staged significant anti-war demonstrations hoping the world would back him and call off the war. James Larkin extended his ambitions and traveled to the United States with the aim of raising enough funds to fight the United Kingdom. The move did not go well for him as it caused his arrest and imprisonment in 1920.
Marriage, Family, and Death
In 1903, James Larkin married his lover Elizabeth Brown, and together they had four sons. After his imprisonment in 1920, James Larkin received a pardon 3 years later and returned home. He stayed with his family as he continued to run his party until his death in 1947.