Moya O'Sullivan Essay

1951 WordsMay 5, 20138 Pages
To what extent was the 1913 strike/lockout a success or a failure? The 1913 Strike/Lockout secured a brighter future free of quasi- economic slavery. In 1900 Dublin Charter of Commerce had stated ‘we are pleased to note the growing disposition of all classes to unite in promoting the best interests of our country’. Dublin seemed free of the tidal wave of syndicalism that was sweeping industrial zones in Britain. However by 1913, workers were militantly demanding radical change and rights under the leadership of James Larkin. Larkin inspired a spirit of self-respect and action, and this culminated in the 1913 Strike and Lockout. Following the Lockout, workers living and working conditions were improved astronomically. Dublin failed to industrialise during the nineteenth century. Irish industries largely failed to adapt to modern technology and methodology, and were conservative in their acquisition of capital. The population also fell after the Famine, and aforementioned factors deterred any substantial foreign and indigenous investment. The economic life of Dublin was thus centred on the ports, where unskilled dockers and carters unloaded cargo and delivered stock to businesses. Unskilled workers were hired on a casual day to day basis, and were not represented on trade unions or protected by legislature. The power of the employers was also immense – the workers subsistence depended on the whims of the employer as regards providing work. The employers could also ‘blacklist’ a worker he suspected of joining a trade union, and as a result no other employer would employ him. The workers were also weak in their disunity and paradoxically their numbers. In 1900, out of an estimated 40 000 male manual workers, 30 000 were unskilled. 7000 were dockers or carters, and 23 000 were hired on a casual basis. Competition for jobs was thus intense as they sought to subsist.

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