Payne graduated from Loughborough University and studied industrial relations at Middlesex Polytechnic. In 1979, she began working for the trade union Equity, and was its television commercials organiser from 1981, then its Assistant Secretary (Recorded Performances) from 1991. In 1999, she was promoted to become Assistant General Secretary (Live Performances), and then in 2005 was elected as the union's General Secretary - the first woman to lead the union.
Under Payne's leadership, membership of Equity grew from just over 35,000 in 2005, to just under 40,000 in 2015, while the union claims that its finances have stabilised during the period. She serves on the Executive Committee of the International Federation of Actors, the General Council of the Trades Union Congress, the board of Phonographic Performance Limited, and chairs the Creative Coalition Campaign.
Payne was re-elected unopposed as general secretary in 2015, and is expected to lead the union until at least 2020.
- "Payne, Christine Grace", Who's Who
- Natalie Woolman, "Christine Payne re-elected as Equity general secretary", The Stage, 7 September 2010
- David Hutchison, "Christine Payne re-elected as Equity's general secretary", The Stage, 4 September 2015
- International Federation of Actors, Executive Committee
- Trades Union Congress, TUC General Council members
|Trade union offices|
| General Secretary of Equity
2005 – present