The Labour War

Submitted by AWL on 12 August, 2020 - 7:07
1913 Labour War

As trade union struggles re-emerge, we need to bring forward the idea of solidarity too. One of the greatest historical lessons in solidarity in the English-speaking world was the 1913-14 “Labour War” in Dublin.

The story is told in the RTE series Strumpet City, part 1 here.

At the time James Connolly wrote: “As ships came into the Port of Dublin each ship was held up by the dockers until its crew joined the [seafarers’] union, and signed on under union conditions and rates of pay. The Union up and down the docks preached most energetically the doctrine of the sympathetic strike, and the doctrine was readily assimilated by the dockers and carters…

“The sympathetic strike having worked so well for the seamen and firemen, the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union began to apply it ruthlessly in every labour dispute...

“When the coach-makers went on strike the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union took over all the labourers, paid them strike pay, and kept them out until the coach-makers won… The mill-sawyers existed for twenty years in Dublin without recognition. The sympathetic strike by our union won them recognition and an increase of pay”.

• More here

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