Labour back to roots at Durham Miners’ Gala
16th July 2012
Tens of thousands of people flocked to the
128th Durham Miners Gala on Saturday July 14 where CWU
was out in force, accompanied by a 20-foot inflatable post box.
The Gala - reportedly the biggest annual trade union gathering
in Europe - is a traditional miners' event dating back to the
19th century. This year's headline speaker was
Labour leader Ed Miliband, who is the first Labour leader for 23
years to address the Gala. He was joined by a range of Labour and
trade union notables, including general secretaries Paul Kenny, of
the GMB and Mark Serwotka from PCS, with Shami Chakrabarti,
director of Liberty, John Hendy, the QC for Durham miners, and MP
Tom Watson, who has campaigned against phone hacking.
CWU's North East Region has always made it a priority to
attend and campaign at the Gala and this year was no exception.
CWU's marquee was full from eight in the morning until the
close at five in the evening with people from all trade unions and
the public, young and old supporting CWU campaigns and wishing the
Over 50 bands played at the gala and around 80 banners were
paraded through Durham as part of the event. A very large turnout
from CWU branches in the north east was bolstered by the Youth
Committee and Women's Committee all working together to ensure
the CWU was heard loud and clear by all in attendance.
Paul Clays, CWU North East Regional
Secretary, said: "It was a wonderful day. Ed Miliband turned
up and spoke about the importance of supporting working class
people. It was great to hear from Labour leaders talking about
working together with trade unions, and at last the first Labour
leader since Kinnock addressing the Gala with his family all there.
Labour MP Tom Watson (pictured second from left) spoke about real
Labour values and the importance of trade unions - he loved our
Paul emphasised the team effort in ensuring the day went well,
explaining: "A lot of our own members give up their free time
to help and support, notably Lynn Browne, Stevie Albon with Brian
Irvine, Jason Lewellyn and Christian Kerr who managed a very early
5am start putting up our marquee and our 20-foot inflatable post
box with the rest of the crew blowing balloons, getting petitions
signed and handing out postcards. I'd also like to thank and
highlight the invaluable support and sponsorship of Simpson Millar
Solicitors who joined ranks with us."
CWU senior organiser, Lynn Browne,
said: "We had another fantastic day at Durham this year and,
despite the weather prior to the Gala, the turn out from both the
CWU mob and the public was overwhelming."
The Gala was built on a common theme of working people coming together and this year was no different, made all the better for Labour returning to its roots with the trade unions under a common goal and commitment.