30/01/2007

Belfast strike to be commemorated

The centenary of the Belfast strike is to be commemorated today in Dublin.

The strike happened in 1907, when over 5,000 Catholic and Protestant dockers downed tools and put aside all sectarian differences to unite in a strike in a bid to gain better work conditions and better pay during the Belfast Lockout, between the months of May and September.

During the action, Royal Irish Constabulary officers mutinied when ordered to escort “scab” workers into the docks.

British soldiers were then called in to bring an end to disturbances.

The strike was lead by trade union leader 'Big Jim' Larkin, who has since had statues placed in both Belfast and Dublin.

Union leaders are expected to gather in Dublin later today to lay a wreath at Mr Larkin's grave to mark the 100-year anniversary of the strike.

After the strike ended, Mr Larkin went on to co-found the Irish Labour Party with James Connolly in 1912. This then lead to the Dublin Lockout in 1913.

(EF)

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