The employees’ vindicator

You have probably mentioned the phrase “a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work” at some point in life. The man behind this phrase is James Larkin.

James is an Irish native who was born in the slums of Liverpool in January 1874. His Irish parents were not that well of in terms of finances and for this reason were not able to provide him with quality education.

From a very young age, Larkin would dabble in between school and work; attend school in the mornings and later go to work. While he was fourteen years, his father passed away, and his employers offered James Larkin an apprenticeship. A couple of years later he was dismissed and started working as a sailor at the docks and then moved up in rank to dock foreman. rEAD MORE: Jim Larkin | Biography and  Jim Larkin | Wikipedia

During his time as a foreman, he became more aware of employee rights that were being overlooked and felt the need to vindicate his fellow employees. This was when he joined the Independent Labour Party. He organized and took part in many successful laborer’s strikes, and this gained the attention of the National Union of Dock Labourers (NUDL).

NUDL appointed him a temporary organizes and a year later his position was made permanent. In 1907, the union took notice of his extremist militant strike approaches and transferred him to Dublin. At around this time is when he founded the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union and eventually the Irish Labour Party.

James Larkin, through his unions, led many successful workers’ strikes the most famous being the 1913 Dublin Lockout where over 100000 workers took to the streets for over eight months demanding fair employment. Learn more about Daniel Taub: http://www.irishexaminer.com/lifestyle/artsfilmtv/books/the-definitive-biography-of-big-jim-larkin-372254.html and http://www.rte.ie/centuryireland/index.php/articles/jim-larkin-released-from-prison

He traveled to the US to raise funds to fight the British from where he got deported back to Ireland. He went on to start the Workers’ Union of Ireland which gained acknowledgment from the Communist International in 1924.

James passed away at the age of 71, having sired four sons with his wife Elizabeth Brown who he married in 1903. Despite his death, his work and the unions he founded still live on.

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