James Larkin: A fair day’s work, for a fair day’s pay!

James Larkin was born on 21 January 1876 in Liverpool to Irish immigrant parents. Larkin had a hard life and lost his father at the age of 14. Jim married his wife Elizabeth Brown in 1903 and the pair had two children named James and Dennis. Over the years in his menial jobs, his interest in socialism became a career path and he even joined the Independent Labour Party.

In 1905 he was one of the few foremen who joined the Liverpool dockers strike and lost his employment as a result. This however opened up doors for him in the world of trade unionism. Not too long after the events in Liverpool, Larkin landed a permanent position with the National Union of Dock Labourers and went on to organize workers across the UK in the fight for workers rights. Learn more about Jim Larkin: http://www.rte.ie/centuryireland/index.php/articles/jim-larkin-released-from-prison

Through his struggles for the rights of his fellow man, he found himself in his ancestral home in Ireland where he was active in trade unionism and founded the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union ITGWU.

During his time in Ireland, he devoted much more time to his socialist ideals and held protests against the first world war. Moreover, Larkin was also the founder of the Irish Citizens Army, the group was intended to offer protection from police brutality and also participated in the Easter uprising of 1916. Read more: Jim Larkin – Biography

Things in Ireland soured for a time and as a result, Jim Larkin left Ireland and retreated to America where he spent some time touring the US as a public speaker.

Eventually, his idealism was too much for the Americans to handle and he was deported after spending time in sing sing prison on charges of criminal anarchy. On returning to Ireland, Jim continued his work organizing workers until his death in 1947.

Jim Larkin left behind a legacy of equality and rights for workers and is remembered by all unionists as the man who coined the phrase, “A fair day’s work, for a fair day’s pay!” Fairness in the workforce is Jim’s Legacy and due to his efforts, he should be a household name the world over.