At the mention of Jim Larkin’s name, one phrase comes to mind; a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay. Jim Larkin is known as a passionate communist who believed that all workers deserve good pay and working conditions. During his lifetime, he organized countless union strikes that saw the working conditions in Ireland improve greatly.
Jim Larkin was born in the slums of Ireland in 1876. Coming from a poor background, he did not complete his education. He ended up working on several low wedge jobs and eventually landed a job as the foreman of Liverpool Docks.
While working these jobs, he experienced first-hand the unfair working conditions that dominated the industrial sector. Committed to seeing his comrades get better working conditions, he joined the National Union of Dock Labourers, NUDL. In 1905, he became a trade union organizer full time.
The NUDL were not comfortable with his methods of organizing for strikes. As a result, they transferred him from their offices in Liverpool to Dublin. While there, he founded the Irish Transport and General Workers Union through which he combined all industrial workers under one organization.
His method in organizing his strikes was what saw him succeed. Having realised that strikes that led to destruction of the industries his members worked in would render them jobless, he embarked on boycotts and empathetic strikes. Learn more about Jim Larkin: http://spartacus-educational.com/IRElarkin.htm
In his speeches he made it a point for his listeners to understand why both the unskilled and the skilled needed better working conditions. His followers like Constance Markievicz liken his speeches to the ‘rush into life of spring’. He inspired many to desire for better work conditions.
Because if the influence he had with the people, he was able to achieve the goal of most strikes despite being unpopular with the press. Jim Larkin later formed the Labour party which was responsible for organizing several strikes across the country.
The most remembered strike organized by this party was the Dublin Lock out in 1993. Over 100,000 stood together in unity, for 8 months, to get equal employment opportunities. Read more: Jim Larkin | Biography and James Larkin | Ireland Calling
Though he was not popular among some people at his time, Jim Larkin played a big role in seeing working conditions in Ireland improve greatly. To many, he is considered a hero.