Unite members from across all regions and sectors joined this year’s 135th Durham Miners’ Gala, where it is estimated that 200,000 people attended on Saturday (July 13).
At one of Europe’s largest annual trade union events, attendees came out in droves despite intermittent rain as they listened to a range of speeches including from Unite general secretary Len McCluskey and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn among others.
Addressing the crowds at the Gala in Durham, McCluskey called for working-class unity and solidarity.
“I reject this new division of the country into ‘Remainers’ and ‘Leavers’,” he said. “I reject the call for a culture war pitting the big cities against the rest. I reject a choice between Nigel Farage on the one hand and the City of London on the other.
“It is only Jeremy Corbyn who seeks to bring this country together. And it is only Jeremy Corbyn who will stand up for this country, instead of toadying to Trump and blundering into more disastrous wars.”
“People still want a better future for themselves and their children, decent secure jobs with an end to the scandalous abuse of agency labour,” he added. “We cannot – must not – let this chance slip.”
Corbyn likewise called for unity in the fight against Tory austerity.
“I want to lead Government that will transform society and offer real hope to the next generation,” he said. “I urge you do not allow our movement to be divided. Do not allow our message to be distracted.
“Keep your eyes on the prize of getting rid of this Government and getting a Labour Government dedicated to the redistribution of power and wealth in our society.”
Trade unionists at the Gala flocked to the Unite tent, whose theme this year was Unity over Division. There, members had fun with the popular Unity over Division ‘selfie boards’ and took away information about the union’s campaign against the far-right for their branches and workplaces.
Shockingly, at the Unity over Division voting box, 90 per cent of voters said they had witnessed or experienced a hate incident, while many members also talked about how “office banter” was becoming a growing issue at work and needed to be tackled.
Gala attendees were also treated to the lively, booming sounds of the Unite Brass Band, which played the classic ‘Delilah’ to County Hotel dignitaries.
— UniteWales (@UniteWales) July 13, 2019
- Pics: Mark Harvey