Union leaders who will address crowds at the 2024 Durham Miners Gala marking the 40th anniversary of the Miners Strike have been revealed by organisers. 

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 on the Durham coalfield had been closed, having a devastating economic and social impact on the region.

All those speaking at the Gala, which takes place Saturday, July 13 had direct involvement in the Miners Strike or are organising in defence of workers today.

The Durham Miners Association (DMA) has announced its lineup of platform speakers for the 138th Big Meeting.

They include union general secretaries Christina McAnea, Matt Wrack and Mick Whelan, plus Ian Lavery, a former miner and president of the NUM, DMA Secretary Alan Mardghum, and Heather Wood from Easington, who played a leading role in the women’s support groups throughout and beyond the strike.

The theme of ‘Solidarity Forever’ will run through the Gala, with the DMA highlighting the solidarity that sustained the strike and has kept the Gala going in the decades that followed.

Stephen Guy, chairman of the DMA, will oversee the proceedings.

He said: “It was solidarity within our mining communities and from the wider labour movement that sustained the strike against all odds for a year.

"It is that solidarity that will enable us as a movement and a class to meet the challenges of today.

“Forty years on from the strike, it is remarkable that the Gala has not just survived but is thriving again. It is an inspiring spectacle and a beacon of hope. The Gala points the way to a better world.

“I look forward to seeing the streets of Durham once again packed with good people on the second Saturday in July. Solidarity forever."

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The full line up of platform speakers is:

Christina McAnea, General Secretary, Unison

Ian Lavery, former miner, president of the NUM and MP for Wansbeck

Matt Wrack, General Secretary, FBU

Mick Whelan, General Secretary, Aslef

Daniel Kebede, General Secretary, NEU

Adriana Pella, CGT, the national trade union federation in Argentina

Alan Mardghum, General Secretary, DMA

Heather Wood, Women Against Pit Closures

The speeches will get underway on the Racecourse in Durham at 1pm.

More announcements will follow on arrangements for other Gala activity, and the Cathedral service.