Jim Larkin is a legendary activist and the founder of Irish Transport and General Workers Union (ITGWU), which he founded in 1907. He was born in 1876 in Liver, England. Jim spent much of his childhood in a slum in Liverpool.
Due to the hard life in the slums, Jim Larkin was forced to move out of his parents’ house at a tender age to seek employment as an industrial worker. Jim Larkin did not receive adequate formal education, so he was forced to work as a general industrial worker in the Liverpool dock.
Jim Larkin is remembered for pushing for equal rights for industrial workers. At the time Jim Larkin started working as a foreman in the Liverpool dock, only ten percent of the workers belonged to a Labor Union.
Although he had little formal education, Jim Larkin was determined to change the state of affairs for the industrial workers. He joined the National Union of Dock Laborers in 1905 where he was appointed to serve as the chief organizer for the Union.
During his time as the organizer, Jim Larkin pushed for industrial workers rights through demonstrations and industrial strikes.
Many people including employers were concerned with Jim Larkin’s activities as a leader of the Union. They plotted a scheme that saw Jim Larkin Transferred to Dublin in 1907. While in Ireland, he went on to form the Irish Transporters and General Workers union. The main of forming this union was to bring together the numerous industrial workers that were scattered across Ireland.
The new trade Union would accommodate both skilled and semi-skilled workers where they would bargain for their rights as one group. After a while, Jim Larkin went ahead to establish Irish Labor Party that was responsible for most of the industrial strikes organized in the country.
The Irish Labor Party organized one of the largest industrial strikes ever seen in the country. More than 10,000 industrial workers downed their tools for close to eight months. In the end, the Union managed to push for the workers’ rights that were granted by the employers.