This year’s Gala, or Big Meeting, will be held on Saturday 8 July, celebrating trade union history and workers’ rights.
The Gala, organised by the Durham Miners' Association, is the annual celebration of trade union collectivism, community spirit and international solidarity and is growing each year.
The main assembly point for PCS members is 8.45am at The New Inn, 29 Church Street Head, Durham, DH1 3DN. PCS reps complete with banners, flags and the PCS balloon meet up to march to the racecourse together. Other assembly points are the Miners’ HQ at Redhills near the railway station and the Market Place.
The focal point of the Gala is the County Hotel at Old Elvet where the two legs of the procession converge. Here, union leaders, invited guests, including our national president Janice Godrich, and local dignitaries greet the march from the hotel balcony and the bands pause to play before marching the short distance to the Racecourse where there is a platform for the speakers.
Speakers this year include Jeremy Corbyn (Labour party Leader), Ken Loach (film director of I Daniel Blake) and Angela Rayner MP (shadow education minister).
The procession can take three to four hours to pass the County Hotel due to the huge numbers attending and the frequent pauses at the hotel.
At the Racecourse, the banners are strapped to the surrounding fences creating a colourful tapestry of working class history. There are numerous stalls, exhibitions, a funfair, music and entertainment for all the family.
Local impact of the cuts
As part of our presence at the gala we will be highlighting the cost to the local area of the government's policies of centralising important jobs and services away from northern towns and privatising what’s left.
We have campaigned vigorously against office closures and resulting job losses. We are working with local MPs who have supported our campaigns against the closure of DWP Vinovium House in Bishop Auckland, Phoenix House in Barrow, Cumbria, which delivers a nationally important service to people suffering from Mesothelioma, and proposed closures in Middlesbrough, Stockton-on-Tees, Peterlee and Workington. These towns have already been hit hard by austerity cuts, and cannot afford to lose either the jobs or the services staff provide.
For more information on PCS at the Durham Miners Gala and on local campaigning, contact firstname.lastname@example.org