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Durham Miners' Gala to focus on pandemic key workers

KEY workers who risked their lives during the pandemic will be the focus of the Durham Miners’ Gala when it returns as Britain’s biggest labour and trade union celebration next month.

The Gala, cancelled through lockdown for the last two years, will give key workers pride of place on the balcony of the County Hotel as tens of thousands of trade unionists march past proudly carrying their banners on July 9.

The marchers will head to the gala field at Durham Racecourse for the legendary “Big Meeting,” which was first held in 1871 and rank-and-file key workers will be among platform speakers, along with general secretaries of public-sector unions.

Durham Miners’ Association (DMA) chairman Stephen Guy will oversee proceedings on the racecourse.

He said: “We are proud to dedicate the 2022 Gala to our key workers and give our platform to them and their trade union leaders.

“As the pandemic showed so starkly, it is the key workers of this country who we truly need.

“They deserve much improved pay and conditions, but it is our key workers who are often bearing the brunt of the cost-of-living crisis.

“I urge everyone to join us in Durham to say a massive ‘thank you’ and to join with the DMA to say: ‘we demand better for our key workers’.”

Speaking will be Unison general secretary Christina McAnea, Unite general secretary Sharon Graham, teaching union NASUWT general secretary Patrick Roach, University and College Union general secretary Jo Grady, DMA secretary Alan Mardghum, Yvette Williams of Justice4Grenfell, and two key workers.

Before the pandemic, only national strikes and two world wars had prevented the Gala from going ahead.

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