In the early 20th-century, less than 10 percent of the workers of Ireland were unionized with employers fearing the rise of a union-based workforce similar to that of England. Larkin had become the main union organizer for the National Dock Laborers Union on the Liverpool Docks; Larkin had achieved some success to bring union policies to Liverpool and Glasgow. Learn more about Jim Larkin: http://ireland-calling.com/james-larkin/ and http://www.rte.ie/centuryireland/index.php/articles/jim-larkin-released-from-prison
The methods employed by Larkin were seen as clashing with the leaders of the National Dock Laborers Union, resulting in his banishment to the Irish docks of Belfast and Dublin.
Upon his arrival in Ireland, Larkin reflected on the negative effect of English rule on the lives of working-class people. Larkin quickly set about driving up the number of unionized workers in Ireland but began to feel he was not receiving support from union leaders in England.
In response, Larkin used the platform he was developing as the head of the Irish arm of the national Dock Laborers Union to form his own Irish General Workers and Transport Union which finally broke the stranglehold of employer suppression of the union movement. Read more: The Definite Biography of Big Jim Larkin – Irish Examiner and James Larkin | Wikipedia
The decision to form his own union led to Jim Larkin being plagued by insecurities which evaporated when he established “The Worker”, a socialist-leaning newspaper which showed off his skills as an editor and journalist. What makes the success of “The Worker” all the more amazing is the fact Larkin had little formal education and was largely self-taught.
The good times for Jim Larkin were short-lived as he took what would become his final shot at glory with the 1913 Dublin Lockout. 404 employers stood in the way of 20,000 union members who were fighting for an end to casual labor in most industries under the direction of Larkin.
The failure of the nine-month lockout left Larkin unable to negotiate with employers and effectively ended his leadership of the Irish working classes.