James Larkin, famously known as Jim, was an Irish leader of labor groups and an activist. He started one of the most effective labor union those days, Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union. Jim was born in 1876 in Liverpool and grew up in slums. His family couldn’t afford to take him school, so Jim was involved in manual work at an early age. This is what he did to help his family get the basic needs.
His hustle led him to become the foreman at one of the Liverpool docks. And ever since he was young, Jim Larkin has been a socialist, and when he was working as a foreman, he witnessed firsthand the struggles that the workers were going through.
Jim sympathized with them, and as a result, he decided to join National Union of Dock Labourers (NUDL) where he was fully installed as a union member in 1905.
He was later appointed to be the union organizer. And in 1907, Larkin first job was to bring together the union workers to boycott work until their employers offer them better wages. Their strike ended after a month with a huge success. Jim even succeeded to unite the Protestants and Catholic workers.
Later, NUDL was alarmed by Jim’s strike tactics, and as a result, they transferred him into Dublin. Here is where he founded the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union. Jim wanted t to bring together all the workers, both skilled and unskilled. Things went on smoothly, and within no time, Larkin again formed Irish Labour Party.
The party was responsible for series of strikes that hit Irish labor market with most significant and successful one was the strike of 1913 that took over eight months and witnessed over 100,000 workers participate.
As the World War 1 was starting, Jim was at it again. He organized a mass anti-war demonstration that shook Dublin. He later went to United States of America where he spearheaded raising of funds to fight the British.
In 1920, Jim was found guilty of committing criminal anarchy and communist sympathizer. He was convicted and pardoned three years later but deported back to his homeland, Ireland. Read more: James Larkin | Biography and Jim Larkin | Wikipedia
Back in Ireland, Jim once again mobilized the Workers’ Union of Ireland, and in 1924, they gained recognition from Communist International.
Until his death in 1947, Jim was a devoted mouthpiece of workers’ rights and a member of Labour Party.