James Larkin was a powerful leader in labor economics. He fought for fair wages in a time where fair wages were not to modern standards.
The idea of a minimum wage that is prevalent today was not exactly how it was in Ireland a few years before World War One. Most workers had to endure long hours and less than stellar wages. James appeared on the scene by grouping with a labor union to unionize workers and demand a higher compensation for both skilled and unskilled workers.
He began with a traditional labor union and achieved incredible success. He left this union however and founded his own. James Larkin is best known for a strike he led in 1913. This strike lasted for almost a year. Irish workers stopped coming to work and were able to get by through British donations. There was a tense stand-off because 2 of the Irish companies refused the demands of the workers on strike.
William Martin Murphy was the head of one of these companies. He was the Chairman for the Dublin United Tramline Company. He refused the demands of the workers on strike and published his own newspaper that was against James Larkin. When the strike was beginning to form, he initially fired 40 workers suspected of being friendly towards the strike. In the next week, he fired 300. Read more: James Larkin | Biography and James Larkin | Wikipedia
This was not enough for Murphy. He led over 400 companies in Ireland to make their employees sign contracts that they will not participate in the strike. In order to keep his company operating, he began to import workers from Britain. It was a battle for labor rights for the future of Ireland. Learn more about Jim Larkin: https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/big-jim-larkin-hero-or-wrecker-review-when-big-jim-looked-small-1.2524094
In August of 1913, James Larkin called for a massive rally. He was snuck into a hotel where he made his speech. The police where required to intervene and a catastrophic incident occurred where up to 600 people were injured. The police tried to disperse the crowd and chaos ensued.
In the end, James Larkin lost financial funding to keep the strike going and it failed. Yet, he made Irish history by bringing to light the need for workers to be paid a fair wage.