James Larkin was an Irish labor leader who not only fought for human rights but also ensured that workers are paid well. He was born on 21 January 1876 in Liverpool England. James Larkin’s quest for good working conditions and fair wages made him form the Irish Transport and General Workers Union (ITGWU) which later turned out to be one of the region’s largest trade union.
His main objective of forming the union was to bring workers from across England and Europe to defend their rights. As a consequence, he earned himself friends and foes in equal measures.
The formation of ITGWU marked the beginning of Irish labor movements. At this point, very few workers were part of the Union neither were they willing to join. In Dublin, most people especially the activists felt neglected and therefore needed a movement in which they could have a sense of belonging.
Jim Larkin’s role at ITGWU played a great part in putting the labor movement into the international map. He considered labor as international and therefore he wanted to ensure that the right of every worker is adhered to.
In 1913, Jim Larking organized the mother of all strikes which came to be known as the Dublin Lockout. Over 100,000 workers responded to his call to down their tools and demand for better pay and working conditions. The strike lasted for almost eight months hence forcing the government to bow down to their pressure and increase wages of all employees. The strike forced Larkin to flee to the United States for some time. 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
While in the United States, Jim Larking continued with his onslaught against oppressive labor laws as well as poor working conditions. He gave lectures in various Universities and encouraged students to always fight for their rights as workers and citizens.
However, his mission did not augur well with some elements in the government which led to his deportation back to England.
In a nutshell, Jim Larkin is one of the greatest union leaders and activists of the 20th century. His pursuit for better working conditions and good pay for workers led to major reforms in the labor sector not only in the United States but the entire world.