James Larkin, the founder and the leader of Irish Transport and General Workers Union.

rtq / November 19, 2017

James Larkin was born on 21st January 1876, in England. He passed on January 1947. He is the founder of Irish Transport and General Workers Union that grew to be the biggest union in the region. Larkin was considered a great social activist and the union’s leader. Having been brought up in the slums of Liverpool, he only managed to access little formal education. He was subjected to work at a very young age to supplement the financial income in the family by working in a variety of jobs. In his youth jobs, he served as foreman of the Liverpool docks and a sailor.

In 1905, Jim Larkin relocated to Belfast and established the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union. The main aim of establishing the union was to mobilize all the Irish industrial workers into one union to enhance their bargaining power. He managed to join the strike committee which he acted as a temporary organizer of the National Union of Dock Labourers (NUDL).

The Irish Labor Party that was subsequently formed by Jim was responsible for a strike that lasted for more than five months. The strike helped much as the workers managed to acquire fair employment across the whole nation. Around 10,000 people participated in this strike.

Jim Larkin participated fully in all the sympathetic strikes organized as well as boycotting the goods. He never advocated for peaceful demonstrations. While in Ireland the press never supported him and this never discouraged him as he had a very many people following him.

In 1906, he became a permanent member of the union and was assigned duty in Scotland where he successfully managed to mobilize workers in Glasgow and Preston. The Chinese immigration was what he majored in his campaigns which he presented as a threat in undercutting potential workers. He later moved south in 1908 where he managed to mobilize workers successfully in Cork, Waterford, and Dublin.

In 1908, after establishing the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union, he managed to steer the union towards its success hence acquiring an affiliation of several branches of NUDL in Waterford, Cork, Sligo, Dublin, and Dundalk. He left NUDL in 1910. Learn more about Jim Larkin: http://www.rte.ie/centuryireland/index.php/articles/jim-larkin-released-from-prison

In 1911, Jim Larkin started a newspaper known as Irish Worker and People’s Advocate and the following year he formed Irish Labor Party together with James Connolly. During the First World War, Larkin led anti-war demonstrations all over the city of Dublin. He even went to the United States to seek financial support to fight Britain.

In 1920, he was found guilty of criminal anarchy which was dropped three years later. He was deported to Ireland where he continued chasing his dream and formed the Workers Union of Ireland. In the year 1924, Ireland was then recognized by Communist International.