QTU welcomes new Deputy General Secretary
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 126 No 3, 9 April 2021, page no.4
The Electoral Commission of Queensland has declared Leah Mertens elected to the role of Deputy General Secretary (Member Services), which became vacant on my election to General Secretary.
Leah has been an officer of the QTU for the past 26 years, working closely with senior officers, the QTU Executive, State Council and Reps in schools. She has previously acted in the role of Deputy General Secretary and is well respected by our members, the Department, the QCT, the QCAA, the AEU and the QCU.
Leah became a QTU member in 1987, when she began teaching at Kawana Waters SHS on the Sunshine Coast, taking up the role of Union Rep in her first year and Council Representative in her second. She was transferred to Mt Isa in her third year of teaching, where she became President of the Leichhardt Branch, leading member strikes for improved teacher accommodation and remote area incentives. In 1990, Leah taught in a school in Lille, France, before returning to an itinerant LOTE teacher role on the southside of Brisbane. In 1993 she became a member of QTU Executive before she was appointed as the QTU Women’s Officer in 1994.
In 2011, Leah worked for the Queensland Council of Unions as Strategy Policy Officer, where she developed policy and successfully achieved the first (unpaid) domestic and family violence leave for workers.
Leah returned to the QTU in 2012, to the role of QTU Research Officer-Professional Issues. She has been involved in many Union campaigns, including EB, class sizes, maternity leave, prep teacher aide hours and enhanced maternity leave provisions. She has also been involved in some major reforms, including the implementation of SATE and the development of QTU/DoE joint statements on annual performance review, NAPLAN, and the purpose and use of data in Queensland state schools.
Leah has also been Chair of the Queensland Working Women’s Service and the Vice-President of Basic Rights Queensland. She has also represented the AEU on the Australian Council of Children and the Media and currently serves on the board of the union’s health fund Teachers’ Union Health (TUH).
Leah’s experience complements that of the other senior officers. She is a committed teacher unionist and I look forward to working closely with her over the coming years as we continue to work with members to improve their life at work.