How Jim Larkin planted a seed of discontent among Irish workers that led to the 1913 lockout

A series of events started unfolding in Ireland between 1896 and 1918 when two influential activists stepped their foot into the land and sowed the seed of discontent among the industrial workers.

The uprising began in Dublin and quickly spread throughout the urban centers in the country. The first activist to arrive in the country was James Connolly.

He stepped foot in Dublin in 1896 and shortly after established the Irish Republican party. Then in 1907, James Larkin arrived in Dublin after working in Liverpool for two years. Jim Larkin had led a series of protests in Liverpool prompting his seniors to transfer him to Dublin.

The two legendary activists were sons of Irish immigrants who had run away from the great famine. Jim Larkin grew up in slums in Liverpool where they barely had proper meals and education.

As a result, he was forced to do menial jobs at a young age. He went to the Liverpool dock where he was employed as a general worker. After a few years of hard work, he was promoted to become a foreman.

During his time as a foreman, Jim Larkin continued to work even harder. He treated every person equally regardless of their background. He neither took alcohol nor smoked.

He also never took bribes to give men work. While working as a foreman, Jim Larkin was utterly disturbed to see the conditions that workers were subjected to. He joined the National Union of Dock laborers but his activism activities saw him transferred to Dublin.

Jim Larkin had a different view as to how the workers could raise their living standards if they received proper remuneration and proper working conditions. He was strong-willed and he was able to seize opportunities whenever he spotted one.

After falling out with the officials of National Union of Dock Laborers, he founded the Irish Transport and General Workers Union that sought to bring together all the workers in Ireland.

Jim Larkin was by no means the first activist in Ireland. But he was undoubtedly among the most effective and he carried out his job at the most convenient time; when people needed the change the most. After forming the ITGWU, Jim Larkin established himself as an effective labor leader in Ireland.

His Labor Union developed tools through which the workers in Ireland could pressure their employers for better pay and working conditions.

The union is responsible for the 1913 lockout that saw more than 10,000 workers go on strike for more than eight months. Eventually, they were granted audience by their employers who agreed to better their pay and conditions of work.

Read more: James Larkin | Biography and James Larkin – Wikipedia