Youth Officer at the Durham Miners’ Gala with GFTU

When I began my union journey, I never imagined that I would be being invited to attend the Durham Miners’ Gala with the General Federation of Trade Unions. My election to become a representative to attend the event was carried out during another wonderful GFTU event which was geared towards the development of the youth officers within the trade union movement. My account of the experience is as follows.

The experience of the event is something I will never forget. The sheer spectacle of 64 banners and their accompanying 56 brass bands made for a lively and well attended march through the town.

I was fortunate enough to march in the procession at the behest of Gawain Little, General Secretary of the GFTU, had the pleasure of spending time in the company of many dear learned people such as Sarah Woolley, speaker at the event and President of the Bakers and Allied Workers’ union, and to hear speeches from the likes of Zarah Sultana.

I attended a fringe meeting whilst in Durham of fellow trade unionist colleagues and inspirational speakers in a very full hall where speeches were heard from the likes of Paul Novak, General Secretary of the TUC.

On the day of the event, once we had processed to the event grounds, I was struck by the sheer vast scale of the event and by how the feeling of camaraderie permeated through the crowd.

 It was during the day, once the speakers were done that, I had the fortuitous experience of meeting Jeremy Corbyn and was lucky enough to manage a picture. See below.

The day was filled with the meeting of like minds; some of whom I had the pleasure to have met before in other events and including the formal dinner which was the Friday evening prior to the event. It was an enjoyable reason to get dressed up and to meet many new faces and be reacquainted with some old friends prior to the weekend’s big event.

The hotel, in which were based, was perfect for the occasion with superb views of the procession and great facilities which kept us more than adequately fed and watered.

I was also happy to receive a prospectus of the new courses by GFTU which are delivered by the GFTU Educational Trust. This is linked into the newly unveiled educational website of the Educational Trust which can be visited at The online link to the programme can be found here.

This was a marvellous experience that I would recommend to all folks that have an active interest in trade unions. I look forward to further participation in the many great events attended by and courses provided by the General Federation of Trade Unions.

Thank you for reading.

Connor Berg

Youth Representative

CWU Edinburgh, Dundee and Borders

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