Gala 2024 to mark strike anniversary - platform speakers announced

The 2024 Durham Miners Gala will mark the 40th anniversary of the Miners Strike, organisers have said. The Durham Miners Association (DMA) has also announced its line up of platform speakers for the 138th Big Meeting.

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 13 July had direct involvement in the Miners Strike or are organsing in defence of workers today.

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 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 this 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!”

The full line up of platform speakers is:

  • Christina McAnea, General Secretary, Unison
  • Ian Lavery, former miner and former president of the NUM
  • 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 will at 1pm. More announcements will follow on arrangements for other Gala activity, and the Cathedral service.


40 YEARS ON FROM THE MINERS STRIKE, the Gala remains as the world's greatest display of trade union and community solidarity.

For more than a century it was funded by the working miners of the Durham Coalfield. Today the Gala is funded by our Marras. The costs of hosting the Gala are rising sharply and more support is needed. Your Gala needs you! Join us. If you are able to chip in, please join our band of ‘Marras’ today here.

For those who wish to stay over, the official Gala campsite is available at Houghall Campus just a short walk from the festivities.

Full camping information and booking is available here.