RMT union boss Mick Lynch - who sparred with media personalities including Piers Morgan during national rail strike - set to speak at Durham Miners Gala
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And bosses at the Durham Miners Association (DMA) have now added him to the roster of speakers due to address crowds when the Big Meeting returns from a two-year hiatus.
However, Labour Party leader Keir Starmer is not expected to attend this year’s event, due to be held on Saturday, July 9.
Following the announcement, Mr Lynch said: “It is a great honour to speak at the Durham Miners Gala.
"It is the biggest and best event in the trade union calendar and a source of strength and inspiration for us all.”
According to the DMA, Mr Lynch “received wide acclaim for his leadership and for his media performances” during industrial action which saw the Tyne and Wear Metro through Sunderland halted for three days as a result of the dispute over pay, job security and safety.
The organisation’s secretary, Alan Mardghum, said: “The DMA stands in solidarity with the RMT and its members.
“We are delighted that Mick will be with us when the Gala returns.
"We know he’ll receive a great reception at the Big Meeting.”
Organisers have dedicated this year’s Miners Gala to all key workers, especially those who performed vital roles during the coronavirus pandemic.
One of the biggest summer events in the North East, representatives of trade unions from across the country will gather to celebrate the history of the labour movement for the first time in two years, after the 2020 and 2021 editions were cancelled over Covid-19 concerns.
Speakers from trade unions and campaigns including Justice 4 Grenfell have already been confirmed, while two “rank and file key workers” are set to be given the chance to speak from the Racecourse Ground platform to crowds from 1pm.
Before the pandemic, only national strikes and two world wars had prevented the Gala from being held.
More than 200,000 people are expected in Durham for the return of the Big Meeting.