Category Archives: History

How Jim Larkin Fought For the Rights of the Unskilled and Casual Employees

Jim Larkin was born in 1876 on 21st January to his Irish parents. He was sent to Ireland to live with his grandparents in a city called Newry. In 1885, Larkin decided to return to England and got a job as a dock laborer. In 1893, Larkin became a member of the Independent Labor Party after his conversion to socialism. He learned how to sell The Clarion and spent some time doing it. In 1893, T. & J. Harrison Ltd took Larkin as its dock-porter and remained an active member of the union until 1906 when he became the General Organizer of the union.


His union sent him to Belfast in 1907 where he was able to recruit more than 400 new members within three weeks. Jim Larkin later went to Dublin with a responsibility of organizing the unskilled and casual workers who belonged to the dock. It was until 1907 when Larkin launched NUDL formally in the city. Before one year was over, Larkin had already recruited over 2,700 men to that union. ITGWU (Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union) was his union he launched. His union has a properly outlined political program. This program was to ensure all those over 60 years of age received their pension as agreed and that the unemployment would be employed.


Larkin is also known to have established The Irish Worker as his own newspaper in 1911. More than 26,000 copies of this newspaper were sold in the month of June the same year. The number of the copies almost tripled in July when he sold about 64,500 copies. The number of the copies sold kept increasing to 74,750 in August and 94,994 in September. The sales figures were quite impressive since the population was huge. In fact, there were about 300,000 people in Dublin only. His newspaper was mainly meant to make the public aware of the corrupt government leaders and bad employers.


Later in 1924, Larkin came up with WUI (Workers’ Union of Ireland). He also became the head of Comintern section in Irish. Larkin made a visit to the Soviet Union in 1924. By February 1932, Larkin had already made WUI successful and this made him easily win the North Dublin seat. In 1944, he bagged another victory when he was now allowed to be a member of the Irish Labor Party. He is one of the people who have strong political interests and desire to fight injustices with all methods.