Jim Larkin

Jim Larkin is the legendary trade unionist and activist, who coined the famous quote “ a fair days work for a fair days pay”. He was born in Liverpool, England in 1876 and did not get much in the way of formal academic education. While growing up in Liverpool he worked on small jobs to help his family.

After getting a job at the docks he eventually worked his way up and became a foreman. It was while working there he joined the dock workers union, NUDL. After a few years in the union, he eventually became a full-time union official and stayed busy organizing union-related activities. Read more: James Larkin | Biography and Jim Larkin | Wikipedia

However, as time went by the higher-ups at NUDL became worried about his methods of organizing disputes and eventually transferred him to Dublin. This was in 1907 and as soon as he arrived in Dublin, be began putting together a trade union called the Irish Transport and General Workers Union or ITGWU.

He outlined several goals with this union and the main ones were, all workers, skilled and unskilled would be represented, eight hour working days, and pension for retired workers over the age of 60. A staunch socialist, Jim Larkin was a big advocate for nationalizing public transport and irrigation systems.

One of his greatest achievements and what also made him an internationally renowned household name was the formation of Irish Labor party and the Dublin Lockout of 1913. This was a strike largely supported by the unskilled laborers of Ireland, nearly a 100,000 of them since they did not have any rights to speak of.

Talks between union leaders and employers happened and failed several times. Finally, after seven months of this scenario passed, the Labour Party won. This was a historic accomplishment which cemented Jim Larkins name in the history books.

Not satisfied with just staying in Ireland, he boarded a ship for the United States. While there, he went on a lecture tour and also to raise money to fight the British. While in the US he joined the Socialist Party of America.

In total he wound up staying in the US for nearly eight years, the last two was spent in prison after he was charged with anarchy and promoting communism. However, he was later pardoned and deported by none other than the legendary director of the FBI, Edgar Hoover, and soon found himself back in Ireland.

Jim continued his work for labor-related causes all the way to his end, which came on January 30th, 1947.