UNI Apro opens new chapter with election of Regional Secretary
Rajendra Acharya’s programme includes plans to grow unions, tackle the effects of digitalization and achieve a just transition for workers in the region
UNI Apro pays tribute to outgoing leader Christopher Ng
KATHMANDU, Nepal—One of the largest trade Asian trade union federations has a new leader.
Today, more than 600 union leaders from some 20 countries voted for Rajendra Kumar Acharya as the new Regional Secretary of the UNI Asia Pacific Regional Organisation (Apro) at the closing of its Fifth Regional Conference. He replaced Christopher Ng, who is retiring after 36 years in leadership at UNI Apro and its predecessor organisations.
Acharya was elected on a platform, called “A Way Forward,” which outlines 10 commitments, including to union growth and just transition in a new world of work, and to achieving a social dimension within regional trade and investment policies.
“It is fitting that this new programme was adopted while we are in Nepal, where we are seeing a commitment to sustainable economy and positive reforms to labour law,” Acharya said.
He continued: “We need a new model in our region—one that includes sustainable economic and environmental policies, strategic union organising at multinational companies, and a genuinely people-centred approach to trade and integration. To reach these goals, we will grow UNI Apro as a the most representative voice of workers, including young workers, women, migrants, the informal, casual and digital economy.”
Acharya thanked his predecessor, Christopher Ng, for developing a strong organisation in the region: “I have been fortunate to learn from Brother Ng, who has been a mentor and a friend. He has persistently stood for good jobs and justice in our region, and I am dedicated to continuing and building on that work.”
Christopher Ng stated: “After more than 42 years of service with the global trade union movement, I am honoured and thankful to have been part of UNI Apro’s efforts to put people in the centre of a globalising Asia and Pacific region. I am proud of my colleagues in UNI Apro who fought the battle every day, valiantly, consistently, and creatively, for jobs, respect and dignity for every working person in the region. I know that our movement and our region is in good hands with Brother Acharya.”
Acharya’s union leadership began soon after his twentieth birthday in 1989, while he worked at a bank and became a local union delegate. In the years since he has held several local, national, and international positions, but never lost his activist spirit.
UNI Global Union General Secretary Christy Hoffman said: “We cannot understate Brother Ng’s hard work and commitment to trade union values, and he has been a force for progress in UNI and Asia. But we know that Rajendra will put his vast and diverse experience towards securing a genuine just transition for workers in the region.”
She concluded: “Our ambition with the new plan is to deliver more of everything. More participation from women and youth in our unions, more organised, greener workplaces that are covered by more collective bargaining agreements. This, coupled with the energy and activism of this region, will keep employers in check and deliver respect, dignity and economic justice for the workers.”
UNI Apro’s President is Minao Noda from Japan and Gerard Dwyer, from Australia, is the Deputy President as well as the National Secretary-Treasurer of the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association.
UNI Apro is the service workers federation in the Asia Pacific region of UNI Global Union. Worldwide, UNI represents 20 million workers in over 150 different countries.
For more details:
Ted Tan, UNI Apro, firstname.lastname@example.org
Matthew Painter, UNI Global Union, Matthew.Painter@uniglobalunion.org
Copyright-free photos of Rajendra Kumar Acharya, Christopher Ng and Christy Hoffman.
Rajendra Kumar Acharya biography
Christopher Ng biography