Centenary of The General Lockout stamps from Ireland

Centenary of The General Lockout stamps from Ireland

On August 22, 2013, An Post issued three stamps to commemorate the centenary of the General Lockout.

The General Lockout was a major conflict between unskilled workers seeking better pay and the right to join a trade union, and their employers, who saw unions as a threat to the status quo. It lasted from August 1913 to January 1914, and was a bitter and at times, violent dispute.

The workers' leaders included committed socialists Jim Larkin and James Connolly, while employers were led by William Martin Murphy, President of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce. Employees who joined Larkin's newly formed Irish Transport and General Workers Union were given a choice of union or job. Those that joined the union were locked out of their jobs.

Within weeks, over 20,000 workers were locked out. Employers engaged black leg labour and scuffles often broke out at pickets between them and locked out workers.

With no source of income, workers and their families relied on union handouts to survive. Constance Markievicz, a nationalist, socialist and suffragette, helped establish soup kitchens to feed the starving workers.

By January 2014, many workers had returned on their employer's terms, signaling a temporary victory for employers. However, the dispute proved a turning point in industrial relations in Ireland.

The stamps were designed by Ger Garland and feature Jim Larkin, James Connolly and Constance Markievicz.

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