James Larkin was born on 28th January 1874 in Liverpool, England as the 2nd born son of Irish immigrants, James Larking and Mary Ann McNulty. James lived in Liverpool’s slum was brought up poor, due to their state.
He worked from the early age of seven to supplement the family’s income. His father passed away when he was only fourteen years and had to drop out of school and become the family’s bread winner.
By 1903 he had become a foreman and worked at the docks. It is at this time he saw how his fellow workers were treated so inhumanly. He developed a deep interest in socialism. In 1905 he was one in a few foremen who took part in a formal strike. The strike ended up costing him his job at the docks. Learn more about Jim Larkin: http://ireland-calling.com/james-larkin/
However, as luck would have it National Union of Dock Laborers (NUDL) were so impressed by him that they offered him a post in the union as a temporary organizer which later led to him getting a full-time position with the union.
Jim was very successful in reeling up workers all over Ireland in 1907. It is here that in 1910 he was expelled from the union as an official and formally prosecuted for allegedly misappropriating the union’s funds. He was sentenced to 1 year in prison but only served three months after Lord-Lieutenant, Lord Aberdeen pardoned him.
Though down he certainly was not out; he started Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union (ITGWU) in 1908 which still exists up to date under the name Services Industrial Professional & Technical Union (SIPTU). He settled in Dublin making it the main base for the union.
His most infamous achievement occurred in early 1913 where he staged a strike that involved a hundred thousand workers and ended up lasting for more than seven months. It is during this momentous occasion that he coined his most known phrase, “A fair day’s work for an honest day’s pay.” Read more: Jim Larkin – Biography and Jim Larkin | Wikipedia
He, later on, shifted to the United States where he tried to raise money to fight off the British during World War I, which he opposed. He was later arrested and convicted of anarchy and communism in 1920. James served three years of his sentence and was deported to Ireland, where he organized the Workers Union of Ireland.
It was for his efforts that the Communist International in 1924 recognized him. James had married Elizabeth Brown in 1913 and were both blessed with four sons. He died on January, 30th 1947 and was buried in Ireland, his parents’ home country.