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meeting in a central London venue, the Cock in Phoenix Rd in Euston at 7.30 on Thursday 25 April to beginning planning for the centenary event. A number have already confirmed their attendance, including Steve Hedley and Mickey Hopball. The Irish Republican Prisoners Support Group decided at its meeting on 13 April 2013, to call for the formation of a Dublin 1913 Lock-out Commemoration Committee to hold a London event to commemorate the centenary of this famous class struggle. We suggest a weekend event beginning on either the 16th or 23rd August (the bank holiday weekend). The venue or venues for the Commemoration are to be decided but we initially decided to approach the Club in Quex Rd in Kilburn but to consider holding sessions in separate venues over the weekend. A tentative time table is a gig on the Friday night, a conference of the Saturday with Trade Union and academic speakers on the political significance of the event for today’s class struggle with music in the evening. As this was an uprising of the poor and oppressed we would envisage giving prominence to the plight of Irish Travellers, to the struggles of the oppressed and to international anti-Imperialist struggles –Marikana miners, Palestinians, Tamils etc. On Sunday another conference sessions with workshops etc – details to be decided. Maybe we could dedicate this day to Austin Harney’s project: “(1) In reference to proposals, I have noticed that Irish issues are sidelined in a number of British Trade Union circles. Therefore, I would like to propose that we push for an "Irish History Month." The same has, always, applied to Women, Black Trade Union members, the Disabled and so on. The intention of the "Irish History Month" would be to commemorate the generations of Irish workers who came to Britain and played a major role as Shop Stewards in the British Trade Union movement. We have much documentary evidence that goes back as far as the eighteenth century, the Chartist Movement in the 1830s, the Industrial Revolution during the famine years of the 1840s as well as its aftermath, the continued immigration before, during and after the war of independence, and right up to the pr
Dublin Metropolitan Police break up a union rally on Dublin's Sackville Street, August 1913 esent day. Also, it must be recorded on how we have fought against discrimination in Britain as Irish people were not included in the Race Relations Act until the late nineties. There is evidence that this legal right is still lip service with the eviction of the Pavees (Irish Travellers) and the Far Right attacks on Irish people, who hardly receive help from the police, in Liverpool, Glasgow, Newcastle and other areas. I welcome your comments.” Benefit of holding on the Bank Holiday weekend is we could have another gig on the Sunday night! We could appeal to local and indeed national TU to assist with venues and with finance. And we would have to decided what to do with any surplus funds raised – for democratic decision in the committee once formed but Irish POWs and their families would be one and I am sure there will be other suggestions. That is if there are any surplus funds! Obviously such a project will take time and effort to organise but it would be very rewarding for all concerned. Gerry Downing The Dublin Lock-out (Irish: Frithdhúnadh Mór Bhaile-Átha-Cliath) was a major industrial dispute between approximately 20,000 workers and 300 employers which took place in Ireland's capital city of Dublin. The dispute lasted from 26 August 1913 to 18 January 1914, and is often viewed as the most severe and significant industrial dispute in Irish history. Central to the dispute was the workers' right to unionise.
James Larkin and the formation of the ITGWU James Larkin, the main protagonist on the side of the workers in the dispute, had a history within the trade union movement. His first experience with trade unionism in Ireland had been in 1907 when he was sent to Belfast as local leader of the British -based National Union of Dock Labourers (NUDL) after working as a docker in Liverpool. While in Belfast, Larkin organized a strike of dock and transport workers. It was also in Belfast that Larkin developed his tactic of the sympathetic strike, whereby workers who were not directly involved in an industrial dispute with employers would go on strike in support of other workers who were. The Belfast strike was moderately successful and boosted Larkin's standing amongst Irish workers. However, his tactics were highly controversial and as a result Larkin was transferred to Dublin. Unskilled workers in Dublin were very much at the mercy of their employers. Employers who suspected workers of trying to organize could "blacklist" them, practically destroying any chance of future employment. Nevertheless, Larkin set about trying to organize the unskilled workers of Dublin. This was a cause of concern for the NUDL, who were reluctant to engage in a full-scale industrial dispute with Dublin employers. As a result Larkin was suspended from the NUDL in 1908. Larkin then decided to leave the NUDL and set up his own union, the Irish Transport and General Workers' Union (ITGWU). The ITGWU was the first Irish trade union to cater for both skilled and unskilled workers. In the first few months after its establishment it quickly gained popularity, and soon it had spread to other Irish cities. The ITGWU was used as a vehicle for Larkin's syndicalist views. Larkin believed in the bringing about of a socialist revolution by way of the establishment of trade unions and the calling
of general strikes. After initially losing several strikes between 1908 and 1910, the ITGWU became more successful after 1911, winning several strikes involving carters and railway workers. Between 1911 and 1913, membership of the ITGWU rose from 4,000 to 10,000. This trend did not go unnoticed by employers, who soon became alarmed by the rise in popularity of the new trade union. Larkin had also learned much from the progress and results of the Tonypandy Riots and the 1911 Liverpool general transport strike. Connolly and the Irish Labour Party Another important figure, in the rise of an organized workers' movement in Ireland at this time, was James Connolly, an Edinburgh-born Marxist of Irish descent. Like Larkin, Connolly was a talented orator. He became known for his speeches on the streets of Dublin, in support of socialism and Irish nationalism. In 1896, Connolly established the Irish Socialist Republican Party, and the newspaper The Workers' Republic. In 1910, Connolly became involved with the ITGWU, and was appointed its Belfast organizer in 1911. In 1912, Connolly and Larkin formed the Irish Labour Party, intended to represent workers in the imminent Home Rule Bill debate in Parliament. Home Rule was never implemented, due to the start of World War I. It was suspended for one year, then indefinitely, after the rise of militant nationalism following the 1916 Rising. William Martin Murphy and the employers Foremost, among employers opposed to trade unionism in Ireland, was William Martin Murphy. Murphy was a highly successful businessman from Co. Cork. In 1913, he was chairman of the Dublin United Tramway Company and owned Clery's department store and the Imperial Hotel. He also controlled the Irish Independent, Evening Herald and Irish Catholic newspapers and was a major shareholder in the B&I Line. Murphy was also a prominent nationalist and a former Home Rule MP in Westminster. He was known as a kind and charitable man in his private life. He was regarded as a good employer and his workers received fair wages. Conditions were poor. Employees were forced to work up to 17 hours a day. A harsh discipline regime and informer culture were pursued. Murphy was vehemently opposed to trade unions, which he saw as an attempt to impede on his business. In particular, he was opposed to Larkin, whom he saw as a dangerous revolutionary. In July 1913, Murphy presided over a meeting of 300 employers, during which a col-
lective response to the rise of trade unionism was agreed. Murphy and the employers were determined not to allow the ITGWU to unionize the Dublin workforce. On 15 August, Murphy dismissed forty workers he suspected of ITGWU membership, followed by another 300 over the next week.
Course of the dispute Escalation The resulting industrial dispute was the most severe in Ireland's history. Employers in Dublin locked out their workers, employing blackleg labour from Britain and elsewhere in Ireland. Dublin's workers, amongst the poorest in the United Kingdom, were forced to survive on £150,000 from the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and other sources in Ireland, doled out dutifully by the ITGWU. A scheme, whereby children of Irish strikers would be temporarily looked after by British trade unionists, was blocked by the Roman Catholic Church, who protested that Catholic children would be subject to Protestant or atheist influences when in Britain. The Church supported employers during the dispute, condemning Larkin as a socialist revolutionary. Notably, Guinness, the largest employer and biggest exporter in Dublin, refused to lock out its workforce. It had a policy against sympathetic strikes. While it refused to join Murphy's group, it sent £500 to the employers' fund. In turn, it expected its workers not to strike in sympathy, and six who did were dismissed. 400 of its staff were already ITGWU members, so it had a working relationship with the union. Larkin appealed to have the six reinstated, but without success. Strikers used mass pickets and intimidation against strike breakers. The Dublin Metropolitan Police in turn baton charged worker's rallies. A DMP attack on a union rally on Sackville Street (now known as O'Connell Street), in August 1913,
caused the deaths of two workers, James Nolan and John Byrne. Hundreds more were injured. This was provoked by the illegal appearance of James Larkin to speak out for the workers. It is still known in the Irish Labour movement as "Bloody Sunday" (despite two subsequent days in 20th century Ireland that are also described in this way). Another worker, Alice Brady, was later shot dead by a strike breaker, while bringing home a food parcel from the union office. Michael Byrne, an ITGWU official from Kingstown, died shortly after being tortured in a police cell.  In response, Larkin, his deputy James Connolly, and ex-British Army Captain Jack White formed a worker's militia named the Irish Citizen Army, to protect workers' demonstrations. For seven months, the lockout affected tens of thousands of Dublin's workers and their families, with Larkin portrayed as the villain by Murphy's three main newspapers, the Irish Independent, the Sunday Independent, and the Evening Herald. Other leaders in the ITGWU at the time were James Connolly and William X. O'Brien, while influential figures such as Patrick Pearse, Countess Markievicz and William Butler Yeats supported the workers, in the generally anti-Larkin media. The lockout eventually concluded in early 1914, when calls for a sympathetic strike in Britain from Larkin and Connolly were rejected by the TUC. Most workers, many of whom were on the brink of starvation, went back to work and signed pledges not to join a union. The ITGWU was badly damaged by its defeat in the Lockout, and was further hit by the departure of Larkin to the United States in 1914 and the execution of Connolly for his part in the nationalist Easter Rising in 1916. However, the union was re-built by William O'Brien and Thomas Johnson. By 1919, its membership surpassed that of 1913. Although the actions of the ITGWU and the smaller UBLU were unsuccessful in achieving substantially better pay and conditions for the workers, they marked a watershed in Irish labour history. The principle of union action and workers' solidarity had been firmly established. No future employer would ever try to "break" a union, in the way that Murphy attempted with the ITGWU. The lockout itself had been damaging to commercial businesses in Dublin, with many forced to declare bankruptcy. W.B. Yeats' "September 1913" September 1913, one of the most famous of W. B. Yeats' poems, was published in the Irish Times during the lockout.
Patrick, Thanks for this. Saturday July 20th will be the James Larkin Soc annual event remembering the Dublin Lock out., with speakers including 2 Leaders of Communication Workers Union of UK and Ireland. Also on Friday May 24th starting at 7.30 at the Casa club in Liverpool, as part of the annual Writing on the Wall Cultural Festival, our free event is " DUBLIN 1913UNLOCKING THE DUBLIN LOCKOUT " Sheila Coleman of Hillsborough Justice will be chairing it , and I will be giving a presentation , linked to substantial research, which will centre the role of women in the dispute plus will conclude with challenges to conventional labour history. The idea of Irish History Month is excellent. I was award winner of Black and Asian History week in its first year dealing with history of Black music and its journey to Liverpool and UK . We must not forget it was the areas of ' celtic' settlement which built the British labour movement and still sustains it to this day. Trade Union density in Ireland,Scotland , Wales and areas of migration in North of England , still holds up in 3035 % union membership. However as one traverses the English heartlands, surprise surprise, union membership has collapsed. Best Ste Higginson, James Larkin Society. Letter from Austin Harney: Dear All, We will be having our AGM for CRAIC (Campiagn for the Rights and Actions of Irish Communities) Fighting the Cuts in June. As evening meetings are proving to be difficult in venues that are not easily accessible, we have decided that a Saturday afternoon would be the most preferable. The date that we have in mind is 15th June in order that it does not clash with a number of other events. I will look for a suitable venue as soon as possible, such as the Irish centres in Camden or Hammersmith. In addition, I will make sure that we have a couple of months notice. On another point, it will be 100 years since the Dublin Lockout between August and July. Therefore, I will start to raise a proposal as well as a number of forthcoming events: (1) In reference to proposals, I have noticed that Irish issues are sidelined in a number of British Trade Union circles. Therefore, I would like to propose that we push for an "Irish History Month." The same has, always, applied to Women, Black
Trade Union members, the Disabled and so on. The intention of the "Irish History Month" would be to commemorate the generations of Irish workers who came to Britain and played a major role as Shop Stewards in the British Trade Union movement. We have much documentary evidence that goes back as far as the eighteenth century, the Chartist Movement in the 1830s, the Industrial Revolution during the famine years of the 1840s as well as its aftermath, the continued immigration before, during and after the war of independence, and right up to the present day. Also, it must be recorded on how we have fought against discrimination in Britain as Irish people were not included in the Race Relations Act until the late nineties. There is evidence that this legal right is still lip service with the eviction of the Pavees (Irish Travellers) and the Far Right attacks on Irish people, who hardly receive help from the police, in Liverpool, Glasgow, Newcastle and other areas. I welcome your comments. (2) There is a Trade Union weekend festival in Kells and Crossakiel (County Meath, Ireland) in order to commemorate Jim Connell who wrote the Red Flag song. The dates are between Friday 3rd May and Monday 6th or Tuesday 7th May. I will provide further details, shortly. It has, always, been funded by the RMT, and the Durham Miners, regularly, attend this event. (3) I am in the process of organising an Irish Night at the PCS Conference for Monday 20th May. I have sent invitations for guest speakers which include a United Left Alliance TD from Ireland, the President (Padraig Mulholland) of NIPSA (Northern Ireland Public Services Association) and Phien O'Reachtigan on behalf of the Irish Travellers facing regular evictions. I will keep you updated. (4) Every year, there is Jim Larkin March in Liverpool during the month of July. As soon as I have the details, I will circulate them far and wide. It would be ideal to organise coach trips to join this march for the centenary of the Dublin Lockout in Britain. Also, we need a strong Unite Against Facism (UAF) presence to counter any possible Far Right intimidation. If you have any further enquiries, please do not hesitate to contact me. Kind regards Austin Harney, Chair of CRAIC (Campaign for the Rights and Actions of Irish Communities) Fighting the Cuts.
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