The 135th gala will take place on Saturday 13 July
Trade union members across the UK will come together this Saturday [13 July] to commemorate the 135th Durham Miners’ Gala.
Established in 1871, the event is the largest of its kind in Europe and will see trade unionists celebrate both Durham and the UK’s coal mining heritage by marching the traditional route taken by colliery bands over the years.
Trade unionists parading banners through the city will be accompanied by brass bands and will assemble at the Racecourse for speeches from shadow business secretary Rebecca Long Bailey MP, Unite the Union general secretary Len McCluskey, Laura Pidcock MP, Shami Chakrabarti, shadow attorney general and lifelong civil liberties and human rights advocate and Jeremy Corbyn MP, the leader of the Labour Party.
Ian McFall, a member of the supervisory board at Thompsons Solicitors, said: “We are proud to show our solidarity at ‘The Big Meeting.’ The Durham Miners’ Gala is a key milestone in the trade union calendar and a proud celebration of the solidarity and support trade unions have and continue to provide workers in workplaces and communities across the UK, in the fight for a fair and equal society for all.
"We are extremely proud to have used our substantial history of working with unions to win more compensation on average than any other law firm for tens of thousands of miners and their families in the biggest industrial compensation schemes in the world at the time.
"We are as committed today as we have always been to working alongside trade unions and their members, securing justice for all of those injured or mistreated at work.
“Joining with our comrades at the Gala is a great opportunity to commemorate the work of trade unions so far and look together at how we will address the challenges facing workers today.”
Timeline of the Miners' Strike 1984/85
8 January 1972
280,000 miners Strike and win their full wage claim and extra holidays
Miners demand 25% increase in wages and impose overtime ban. Prime Minister Health declares a state of emergency
1 January 1974
Heath imposes three-day week to conserve coal stocks
4 February 1974
Miners vote 81% in favour of Strike
7 February 1974
Heath calls general election to take place on 28 February
9 February 1974
Miners' Strike begins
28 February 1974
Labour Government elected and miners receive full claim plus an extra week's holiday. New Plan for Coal is announced
Margaret Thatcher elected leader of the Tory Party
Nottingham and South Derbyshire Areas agree to incentive scheme defying the democratic decision of two national ballots
Thatcher commissions Nicholas Ridley to draw up battle plan to defeat miners
Tories win General Election
Arthur Scargill elected President of NUM
Union-buster Ian MacGregor appointed Chairman of NCB
6 March 1984
MacGregor announces the closure of 20 pits and loss of 20,000 jobs
7 March 1984
Strike spreads throughout coalfields eventually affecting 180,000 miners
3 March 1985
A NUM special delegate conference recommends a return to work without an agreement
5 March 1985
Miners march back to work. Many pits honour female supporters by asking them to lead the parade carrying the banner
Thompsons successfully oversees what was then the biggest industrial injuries case in history for ex-miners
31 March 2004
Miners lose their automatic right to claim for compensation in relation to chest diseases
30 years on from the strike and the fallout is still being felt in former mining communities