Jim Larkin was a well-known Irish activist, union trade leader and socialist that fought for unskilled workers’ rights for fair wages. He was born on January 21, 1876 in Liverpool, United Kingdom to parents that emigrated from Ireland. Learn more about Jim Larkin: http://spartacus-educational.com/IRElarkin.htm and http://www.irishexaminer.com/lifestyle/artsfilmtv/books/the-definitive-biography-of-big-jim-larkin-372254.html
Larkin’s whole childhood was spent in poverty, his family lived in the slums of Liverpool. He had to work in various jobs just to help supplement his family’s income. By working throughout his youth, he missed opportunities to receive a formal education.
By the time he reached his twenties, Larkin found employment as a docker and sailor at the Liverpool docks. He also developed interest in socialism and joined the political Independent Labour Party. In 1903, he was assigned to work as a dock foreman and later within that year on the 8th of September, he married Elizabeth Brown.
Jim Larkin went on his first strike in 1905, he was reportedly one of the few foremen that joined the Liverpool dockers on strike. He lost his title as a foreman but gained trust with the National Union of Dock Labourers and was elected to their strike committee as a temporary organizer.
During a cold winter month in 1907, he traveled to Belfast, Ireland and recruited local city dockers for the union. They wanted fair wages and Larkin had to organize a strike after the employer’s turned down their demands. The NUDL was concerned of Larkin’s leadership and forceful strike methods so they forced him out of their union in 1908.
The dismissal of his formal position in the NUDL led Jim Larkin to establish his own union. He founded the Irish Transport and General Worker’s Union and had alliance in the cities of Belfast, Drogheda and Derry. Their longest strike and boycott was during 1913, it was dubbed “The Dublin Lockout.”
For over seven months, workers were locked out by employers after demanding fair wages. Today, his Irish Transport and General Worker’s Union exists now as the Services Industrial Professional & Technical Union.