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Durham Miners' Gala 2024

28 June 2024

Join UCU Northern region and UCU members from all over the UK in Durham on Saturday 13 July 2024.

Hosted by the Durham Miners' Association (DMA) since 1871, the motto for the Durham Miners' Gala is 'the past we inherit, the future we build' and it is for building our movement that I write to you today.

The Gala, or 'Durham Big Meeting', is usually the largest trade union and labour movement event in Europe and is a unique and inspiring spectacle. UCU general secretary Jo Grady spoke at the Gala a few years back, to a crowd of over 150,000 attendees. Since 1871, the Gala has given a voice to the oppressed throughout the world. It has expressed the vital importance of trade unionism, the duty to look after each other in the community, and the desire to build a society where wealth is created for the common good.

Above all, the Gala commemorates the past, as part of a living movement, which desires to build a better future for all.

The 138th Durham Miners Gala will also mark the 40th anniversary of the Miners' Strike. The year-long strike began in March 1984 as miners and their families across the country fought to preserve their jobs, their industry, and their communities. Within a decade of the end of the strike, every mine in the Durham coalfield had been closed, having a devastating economic and social impact on the region.

Beautiful banners celebrating the coalfield communities of County Durham and beyond, along with many sister trade union banners, and our region's working-class history are carried through the medieval city to the sound of brass band music, creating a wonderful feel of street theatre, celebration and pride.

UCU and predecessor unions have a long and proud history of supporting the Gala and we want as many UCU Northern members as possible to march proudly with the Bear Park and Esh Colliery Band, whom we have supported for many years. On the day, along with the Esh Winning Colliery Banner, our UCU members and banners will leave from outside the old County Hospital at the top of North Road in Durham at 08:30 promptThe old County Hospital is now Rushford Court student accommodation: see Google Maps.

If coming to Durham by train, the meet-up is literally down the bank from the train station. Please note that this location is different from the last few years, as the marching route was shortened due to the bus station in Durham being rebuilt but is now back to its usual route.  

The Gala is the world's greatest celebration of community, international solidarity, and working-class life, so please do try and join us on this historic day next month.

We want this year to mark UCU Northern's largest member mobilisation at Durham Miners' Gala, so please join us.

With thanks and in solidarity.

Lawson Armstrong
UCU regional official (Northern)

Last updated: 12 July 2024