The life of James Larkin was centered on fighting for fair workers rights for individuals of all walks. He is remembered for the quote “A fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay” that illustrated what he fought for as a trade unionist.
James Larkin turned to menial jobs when he failed to acquire an education following his poor background. His search took him to Liverpool docks where he secured a position as a foreman. It is while working there that he was introduced to trade unionist. His efforts in fighting for better working conditions led him to join the National Union of Dock Labourers (NUDL). In 1905, Jim Larkin became a trade union organizer.
Continuing the Fight
Though he conducted violence-free strikes to the admiration of the likes of Constance Markieviez and Patrick Pearse, NUDL did not agree with his methods. As a result, he was moved to Dublin two years into the union. The move did not deter him as he continued with the fight by forming the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union (ITGWU). Read more: James Larkin | Biography
Jim Larkin was targeting the welfare of all Irish workers regardless of the skills. He highlighted the key areas where he concentrated his efforts including an 8-hours working day and pensions for individuals over 60 among others.
Jim Larkin knew well that the rights of unskilled laborers in Dublin were limited. He had endeavored to fight for them when he joined James Connolly to establish the Irish Labor Party in 1912. The following year, he led a strike that is still remembered to date, the Dublin Lockout.
Larkin later moved to the United States and joined the Industrial Workers of the World and the Socialist Party of America. He also founded the James Connolly Socialist Club in New York in honor of his friend. He was deported back to Ireland in 1923 where he formed the Workers’ Union of Ireland before passing on in 1947.