Save the Durham Miners’ Gala

The future of the Durham Miners’ Gala has been threatened following £2 million in legal costs being charged to the Durham Miners’ Association. Full details of the case are below the picture.

The bill means the future of the gala cannot be assured unless enough donations can be received through the “Friends of the Durham miners’ Gala” to cover the ongoing yearly costs.

You can either make a one-off donation or, even better, set up a standing order for as little as £2 per month to become a “Friend of the Durham miners’ Gala, and receive brochure with photographs and a report of the gala each year.

Click the below donate button to make an on-line donation now


Gala pic

Durham Miners’ Association – Press Release 28/4/2014

Disabled Miners Denied Justice
Costs of £2M puts Durham Miners’ Gala at risk

The Durham Miners’ Association (DMA) has received a bill for £2M as the final settlement of the legal costs incurred in its six-year fight for compensation for miners suffering from osteoarthritis of the knees.

Dave Hopper, General Secretary of the DMA, said, ‘Many of our members are severely disabled by this crippling industrial disease and we were desperately disappointed when a judge in the High Court refused allow their case to be heard.’

‘Our case was watertight. Lawyers on both sides agreed that the injuries to our members was caused by their work in the mines and we had compelling evidence that the National Coal Board (NCB) knew that miners working in certain conditions and doing jobs which involved heavy lifting were at risk of developing this painful disease. We were confident therefore, that given the chance, our lawyers could have proved that the NCB were liable for the damage our members have suffered.

‘We were so determined to get them the justice they deserve we appealed the Judges ruling in the Court of Appeal, but to no avail.

‘It is a sad day for British justice when a judge can decide that men who have given a lifetime of service to the economy of the country, working in hard and dangerous conditions underground, can’t have their day in court.

‘Paying this bill will have a serious effect on our finances, which means that our ability to continue with the Durham Miners’ Gala will depend largely on donations to The Friends of the Durham Miners’ Gala.’

In 2012, the Durham Miners’ Association set up the Friends of the Durham Miners’ Gala to ensure that this increasingly popular celebration of trade union and community spirit would continue well into the future.

Dave Hopper emphasised. ‘We believe that this is a people’s Gala and if we have thousands of people giving a little each year the Gala will be safe. Of course, we will be more than happy to receive bigger donations from trade union organisations but it was the people of Durham that saved the Gala and in the long run it will be the people of Durham, and our many well wishers who attend from all over Britain, who will keep it going.

To join The Friends of the Gala on line go to: or write to: Friends of the Durham Miners’ Gala, PO Box 6, The Miners’ Hall, Durham DH1 4BB

For further information ring 0191 384 3515


Bedroom Tax Toolkit

On 1 April 2013 the Government introduced a ‘Bedroom Tax’ on people viewed by Government as having one or more spare bedrooms.

Around 660,000 families will be hit, thousands will lose their homes – some of the worst affected will be carers, people with disabilities and army families.

This short guide offers resources and information to help you appeal against this unfair tax.

Up and down the country Unite Community groups are standing together against the Bedroom Tax. A substantial number of those affected by the Bedroom Tax
are the least able to defend themselves. If you need help appealing against the Bedroom Tax Unite Community can help you to find community groups and campaigns that can support you and others affected.

Download the toolkit here

Banner design session a success

Unite Community activists held a public session to begin designing a new banner, which was attended by a good mix of older and younger activists, inspiring some excellent ideas for what a banner should look like.

Opening speaker Alan Cummings, Chair of the Durham Miners Association spoke of the importance of a banner reflecting the continuing struggles of today and into the future as well as remembering the 30 years of struggle following the miners strike. Heather Wood and Pat McIntyre shared a range of memories from the strike, in particular around the role played by women and local communities, stressing the importanc eof their being involved at the very heart of any community campaigning.

Joe Rollin, Unite Community Regional Co-ordinator, outlined the iportance of the Community membership project to Unite, and the wider TU movement, outlinning the support received from other unions, such as encouraging their retired members to become active. Joe also talked about the importance of designing a banner which appealed to young people, and recognised the new methods of campaigning which have developed in recent years through groups like UK Uncut, Occupy and The People’s Assembly.

Final speaker Paul Simpson, a Unite Community member and organiser for the People’s Asembly, touched on the importance of getting young people involved in the work and campaigns of Unite Community, and demonstrating the Trade Union movement is as important to their lives as it was top their parents and grandparents.

The event attracted coverage in the local press, with the Norther Echo in attendance

A selection of photos from the day are below.







Public banner making session Fri 18th

Unite Community and the Durham Miners Association are commissioning a brand new banner to commemerate the 30th Anniversary of the Miners Strike, to be unveiled in time for the Gala this July.

As well as celebrating the past, the banner will be for the future as well, looking at how to continue the community spirit created within the mining communities, and ensuring working class solidarity remains strong.

There will be a public session to look at ideas for the banner design on Friday 18th April, at West Cornforth Community Centre from 1100 – 1500 hrs.

Please try and get along and contribute your ideas.

See also the coverage of the event in the Northern Echo by clicking the link below.

Stop the Bedroom Tax

6 April marks the first anniversary of Iain Duncan Smith’s hated Bedroom Tax. We hope this will be its last anniversary.

No Bedroom Tax

The Bedroom Tax has caused misery to 660,000 homes, serving to push people into poverty and increase the foodbank queues.

The Bedroom Tax is cruel and unfair and needs to go.

Please sign and leave a message on our unhappy birthday card by clicking here

It’s Iain Duncan Smith’s birthday a couple of days after, we’ll make sure he receives the card on his 60th.