James “Big Jim” Larkin was a trade unionist who was born on January 21, 1876 in Liverpool, England. He was born to Irish parents and was raised in a poor neighborhood.
He has many jobs that required manual labor. Jim Larkin became the foreman at the shipping docks in Liverpool. He became dedicated to improving the working conditions of workers at the docks. He became a member of the National Union of Dock Laborers in 1905 and also became a union organizer on a full time basis.
Larkin moved to Dublin, Ireland in 1907. He believed that a union should strive to take care of the welfare of the industrial workers it represents. With this in mind, He founded the Irish Transport and General Worker’s Union. The Union’s political agenda included providing work for all unemployed members, fighting for an 8 hour work day, and providing pensions for all workers who were 60 years of age or above. Learn more about Jim Larkin: http://www.rte.ie/centuryireland/index.php/articles/jim-larkin-released-from-prison and http://ireland-calling.com/james-larkin/
Larkin, along with James Connolly, formed the Irish Labour Party in 1912. He was the leader of strikes geared to advocate for the rights of unskilled workers. Workers won the right to fair employment after more than 100,000 union members went on strike for a total of 7 months.
During this period, Larkin coined the phrase,”A Fair Day’s Work, For A Fair Day’s Pay.” Larkin also led the charge of boycotting goods which proved to be an effective strategy to display how powerful the unions had become.
Jim Larkin became the voice for the voiceless. He became a determined and dedicated union organizer and advocate for skilled as well as non skilled industrial workers in Ireland. His strength inspired both laborers and drew the support of people from all walks of life.