Though with Limited Education, Jim Larkin Dedicated His Life to Bravely Fight for All Workers in Ireland

Jim Larkin who was known to many as Big Jim was very instrumental in fighting for fair working conditions for the Irish people. Read more: James Larkin | Biography

Despite his limited education, he was able to influence positive changes on how workers both skilled and unskilled were treated. The famous phrase ‘A fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay’ that is used to date originated from this strong trade unionist.

The Beginning

Jim Larkin grew up in the shanty town of Liverpool in England. His Irish parents could not afford to give him a good education which led him to resort to menial jobs including working at the Liverpool docks. Learn more about Jim Larkin: http://spartacus-educational.com/IRElarkin.htm

He was very dedicated to his work which eventually led him to the position of the foreman. He used his position to fight for fair working conditions for him and his colleagues. His fight led him to the National Union of Dock Labourers that became his launching pad to trade unionist. In 1905, Jim embraced the fight full-time by becoming an organizer.

The Fight Continues

Two years later, NUDL transferred him to Dublin where he established the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union (ITGWU). Jim had the mission of bringing all workers whether skilled or not under one union that would effectively safeguard their interests.

He was quick to draft what ITGWU would fight for that included fighting for the unemployed to find work, a working day of 8 hours and pensions for 60 years old workers among others. A few years later, Jim Larkin teamed up with James Connolly to establish the Irish Labour Party responsible for the historic strike, Dublin Lockout in 1913.

His Time in the United States

Jim Larkin was actively involved in anti-war demonstrations that he organized in Dublin at the start of World War 1. He was dedicated to fighting the British which led him to travel to the United States in 1914 to rally funds for the cause.

He went on to become a member of the Industrial Workers of the World and the Socialist Party of America.

Jim Larkin also started the James Connolly Socialist Club in New York in honor of his friend James who died in the Easter Rising in Ireland. He returned to his country in 1924 where he established the Workers’ Union of Ireland.

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