The Contribution of Jim Larkin In Improving The Working Conditions of Irish Workers

In the twentieth century, working conditions in Ireland proved to be quite severe. While three-quarters of the workers were unskilled, labor unions were only present for the educated and skilled workers

. The unskilled workers were not well paid, worked in unkind conditions that were not safe for them and also lacked support from any organization. Change for them was unforeseen. National agencies only concentrated on politics and ignored the sad situation faced by the working class.

James Larkin is a citizen of Ireland, He was born in Liverpool, and his parents were emigrants. He worked at the dock. James first took part in a strike in the year 1905. It was then that he became enthusiastic about socialism, equality of rights and improved working conditions for all workers. Jim became the chief organizer for the National Union of Dock Labourers (NUDL) in 1906. A year later, he went to Ireland.

When he first got to Belfast, James Larkin tried to organize a labor force for unskilled workers. However, NUDL chose to side with business owners and did away with him. To not let his dreams get thrashed, Jim went ahead and started his union. It was known as The Irish Transport and General Workers Union (ITGWU). ITCWU quickly became a success and registered as the leading union in Ireland in a period of three years.

Even though James organized most of the workers of the Ireland, he still faced resistance from William Martin Murphy. William was an old-school nationalist who did not believe in change. He owned the Dublin United Tramway Company (DUTC). In the year 1913, William Murphy asked his employees to repudiate the ITGWU or risk losing their job.

Nevertheless, James Larkin went ahead and mobilized all those who worked at ITGWU to strike. This was on August 26th.

Learn more about Jim Larkin:

Big Jim Larkin: Hero and Wrecker