Key workers centre stage at Gala – 2022 speakers announced

Key workers will be centre stage when the Durham Miners Gala returns next month.

The Big Meeting is dedicated to those who risked their lives to keep society functioning during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Key workers representing numerous sectors will be the guests of honour of the Durham Miners Association (DMA), taking pride of place on the famous balcony of the County Hotel and on the speakers’ platform on the Racecourse Ground.

Two rank and file key workers will speak from the platform alongside the leaders of trade unions representing key workers.

After a two-year hiatus, the Gala returns on Saturday 9 July 2022. The speeches on the racecourse will get underway at 1pm

The following trade union general secretaries will speak from the platform:

  • Christina McAnea, Unison
  • Sharon Graham, Unite
  • Patrick Roach, from teaching union NASUWT
  • Jo Grady, from further and higher education union UCU

The DMA will also select two key worker guests to speak from the platform with an announcement due next week. DMA Secretary Alan Mardghum will also make a keynote speech in their honour of key workers.

DMA chairman Stephen Guy will oversee proceedings on the Racecourse.

Stephen 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 that 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’.”

The DMA also reaffirms its commitment to the Justice4Grenfell campaign by inviting its founder Yvette Williams to speak at the Gala.

The community led organisation works to bring a measure of justice for the bereaved families, survivors, evacuated residents and the wider local community who were left devastated after the disaster.

Before the pandemic only national strikes and two world wars had prevented the Gala from going ahead. More than 200,000 people are expected in Durham for the Gala’s return.

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