1 July 2022

PCS at Durham Miners' Gala 2022

The Big Meeting is back on Saturday, 9 July, after being cancelled for the last two years due to the pandemic, and PCS members are taking part.

The 136th Durham Miners Gala will be held on Saturday 9 July. The 2022 Big Meeting is dedicated to key workers including PCS members, who will represent our union alongside carers, bus drivers, delivery workers, nurses and others. Gala organisers the Durham Miners' Association (DMA) wants to celebrate these workers, many of whom risked their lives to keep society functioning during the pandemic.

Nicci Charlton, a PCS rep at Benton Park View in Newcastle will be representing PCS as a key worker. She said: “The Durham Miners' Gala is the high point of the year for me and has been sorely missed during the pandemic. I love the traditions of the Big Meeting, the music, the marchers, the banners, the speeches (and I'm a sucker for a brass band!).

"Being nominated to attend as guests of the Durham Miners' Association is a huge honour - it's a privilege to represent PCS key workers, to stand alongside colleagues from other unions on the main stage, as well as getting the amazing opportunity to speak at the service at Durham Cathedral.”

Mark Byers, branch organiser for DWP Tyneside and Northumbria branch has also been selected to represent PCS. He said: "I've always attended the Gala and been proud to march with PCS as well as following the banner of Westoe Colliery, the pit which I grew up next to. 

"When PCS nominated me to be a guest of the DMA representing key workers I was a bit shocked to be honest. I felt incredibly privileged to be considered to represent my colleagues and members. There were several opportunities to participate and I volunteered for all of them! I recorded a video message which will be played on screen alongside others to broadcast the “voices of key workers”. I was also asked to participate in a media presentation on the day of the Gala, to give a speech from the platform if selected, and to read a passage in the dedication service at Durham cathedral.

"I think it's fantastic that the DMA have chosen to honour key workers at this time. It's also ironic that that despite the plaudits during the pandemic key workers are now being undermined and demonised by the government and media. As I said in my video 'it's never been a more important time to be a member of a union'."

For more information about the gala, visit the Durham Miners' Association website.