Day 323 Larkin’s Window (Photo A Day 2012)

This is a stain glass window in Belfast City Hall to commemorate the 1907 Dockers Strike in Belfast led by trade unionist organiser James Larkin. The legend at the bottom of the window reads Not as Catholics or Protestants, Not as Nationalists or Unionists, But as Belfast Workers Standing Together.

The Belfast Dock strike or Belfast lockout took place in Belfast, Ireland from 26 April to 28 August 1907. The strike was called by Liverpool-born trade union leader James Larkin who had successfully organised the dock workers to join the National Union of Dock Labourers (NUDL). The dockers, both Protestant and Catholic, had gone on strike after their demand for union recognition was refused. They were soon joined by carters, shipyard workers, sailors, firemen, boilermakers, coal heavers, transport workers, and women from the city’s largest tobacco factory. Most of the dock labourers were employed by powerful tobacco magnate Thomas Gallaher, chairman of the Belfast Steamship Company and owner of Gallaher’s Tobacco Factory. The Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) later mutinied when ordered to escort the blackleg drivers of traction engines used to replace the striking carters.The state deployed British Army to defeat the strike. Although largely unsuccessful, the dock strike led to the establishment of the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union

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