The Main Events of
the 1913 Lockout
By Aisling, Jennifer and Áine
• The Dublin Lock-out 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 2
days, and is often viewed as the most severe and significant
industrial dispute in Irish history.
• The main reason for the lockout was to ensure that workers got
equal rights especially people living in the Dublin slums.
• A planned meeting by James Larkin and the Transport Union on
O’Connell Street had been banned by Dublin Castle the workers
were holding a rally in Croyden Park Fairview, north of the city.
The Sympathetic Strike
• Larkin led a number of strikes in 1912 and 1913 which won wage
increases up to 25% for his members.
• The tactic that produced the successes was the sympathetic strike,
it meant that when the trade unionists in an other industry were on
strike ,wouldn’t handle goods coming from the industry out of
sympathy for the strikers.
• The sympathetic strike made it difficult for employers to bring in
other workers to do work for the men on strike.
• As a result employers gave into Larkin’s demands.
• Murphy was opposed to his workers joining a trade union.
• When Larkin seemed to be winning by uniting the workers,
Murphy persuaded the employers to form an ‘Employers’
Federation’ to resist.
• The clash between Larkin and Murphy began in the Dublin
• On the surface the working conditions were good but behind
the surface the working conditions were harsh.
• With working conditions like these it is not surprising that
Larkin was able to recruit some Tramway workers.
• In July 1913, when Murphy heard of this, he moved to stop
• Twice before he had stopped attempts to form a trade union
in the Tramway Company and he was determined to do so
• Over the next two weeks strike and lockout spread.
• Events followed a pattern. Workers in an industry would
refuse to handle goods from a firm on strike.
• The employers would present them with a declaration which
they would refuse to sign. The firm then lock them out.
• One of the first firms to act was Jacobs. When some women,
members of the IWWU, refused to handle flour from a firm
that had locked out its workers, Jacobs locked out over 2000
• By ‘a trade union conducted on ordinary lines’ he, like
Murphy, meant one of the old craft unions which only
represented the better paid skilled workers.
• Craft unions were very conservative and seldom went on
• On August 31, 1913 Dubliners in O’Connell Street were
attacked by the Royal Constabulary when Jim Larkin
attempted to address them. Up to 600 people were seriously
injured on what became known as Bloody Sunday.
Main Events- summary
• Jim Larkin set up the Irish Transport and General Workers’
Union (ITGWU) to work for better wages. At first it was
successful and this worried employers.
• In 1913 they demanded that workers resign from Larkin’s
union. When they refused to, their employers locked them
• The lockout lasted for 5 months.
• During it Connolly formed the Irish Citizen Army to protect the
workers from the police.
• In the end the workers lost and Larkin went to the USA.
• Connolly was left in charge of the ITGWU and the Citizen
• Connolly remained convinced that Irish workers would only
get justice through a revolution to overthrow British rule.