Message from the regional secretary Chris Jenkinson

I was recently appointed as regional secretary for UNISON Eastern following the retirement of my predecessor Glyn Hawker. Glyn did a great job in her time as regional secretary and she’s handed over a region in great shape.

I look forward to working alongside branches and activists, helping to organise and support our members in the months and years ahead. When I started off my life as a trade union activist almost 28 years ago, I never imagined I would get the privilege to work for the union let alone progress this far. It’s a real honour.

For the past two years I have been working in UNISON centre leading on some of our strategic projects like the new organising framework, a digital app developed to replace the joint regional branch assessment, and a new HR system to help support branches who employ their own staff. It will now be interesting to see those projects come on stream later in the year.

I enjoyed being at head office but I have to admit that I always looked forward to the day when I could get back to working in a region. Organising on the ground, running our campaigns, and working alongside activists and branches, helping to build the union is my background. For me it’s what trade unionism is about.

And there could not be a more exciting time to start. I firmly believe that people have turned their backs on austerity. You only need to look at the recent general election to know that is true. The same goes for the mantra of privatisation, inequality, low taxes, deregulation, light touch intervention and the small state.

The time to campaign for trade union values has now arrived – and I look forward to working alongside you to campaign for our public services, to help see the back of privatisation, to deliver fair pay, to promote social justice and build workplace democracy.