Ex-Albury councillor shows the way in workers paradise initaitive. Is paying your employees double key to resisting economic downturn?


A payslip of BF Transport to one of Mr Mathews employees Lionel White. Mr White is still employed by Mr Mathews company.

In this day and age of cynicism and exploitation, of employers grinding their employees to the bone, the dirt or both, it is refreshing to know that some employers make it their mission in life to defy what some might regard as shortcomings of certain aspects of free-enterprise—particularly when the rather stereotypical notions of the bosses bleeding their employees dry.

In making the story known, we don’t want to rock the boat or tread on any toes—not if the boss and his employee want to keep the arrangement private. That’s the trouble with a mixed metaphor or a private arrangement, it can mean one of two things—or even two things in some instances.

In this instance perhaps, the boss wanted to it keep private. After all utterances of public generosity can come back to haunt you—ungrateful workers with a grievance. Public generosity versus private generosity is always a bit problematical. Like when a bit while back, the then councillor; Duncan-Strelec, in a show of unconvincing dog whistling, confided to anyone prepared to listen as to the extent of Cr Henk van de Ven’s private charitable works. Henk’s generosity, Cr Duncan-Strelec maintained had been lost on the population and if (as she was telling them now) they have been aware of Henk’s private good works (which by now they should have been) then the good folk of Albury (and a majority of his fellow councillors ) would enthusiastically, perhaps almost rapturously, reassess their opinion of Henk and take him into their bosom and give him the mayorship, a position he has almost pathologically coveted over the years. It didn’t happen but that’s another story.

No doubt you can now see what we mean by now. Though what are we getting at? That’s the trouble when a citizen wants to keep his generosity private—but is it in the public interest or for the common good to put it in biblical terms—Luke 11:33 “No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light.” Still, even private good works sometimes deserve to be made public even though the benefactor in question might be reluctant to accept the gracious best wishes of his fellow citizens when their generosity is made public. Obviously Henk’s colleague at the time, Cr Duncan-Strelec, resisted Henk’s protestations about her going public. Humility is a very endearing thing—then again she may not have told him at all. Who knows? For a bit of background information on the subject, follow this article link.

Still, with all the doom and gloom confronting us and The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant breathing down our necks, even the slightest smidgeon of people doing good should gladden our hearts. Otherwise the world would descend into a degeneracy of the spirit that would lead to God knows where.

Former Albury councillor Nico Matthews and ALP candidate step forward—now!

No, it’s not some patronising misty eyed type of This Is Your Life without the moving pictures.

These are the facts. Pictured above is a payslip from Mr Mathews company BF Transport. Still mystified? Of course it doesn’t quite explain itself and even though a picture paints a thousand words, it still requires a modest written narrative explanation.

A lot of employers express sympathy for the workers but when it comes to dipping into their back pocket for that little bit extra, well it just doesn’t happen. As the payslip irrefutably proves, Mr Matthews has exceeded far beyond expectations in the sometimes problematical boss/worker relationship—and it’s not just a couple of hundred at Christmas time and a slab of beer. No way. Because this payslip pays anonymously presented to Borderline shows one of his employees, Mr Smith was paid $95,000 a year way back in 2010. To put Mr Mathew’s generosity into context, in November 2012 the wage for a truck driver was around $45,000 and that included a bit of overtime! That’s right way back when Mr Matthews was paying Mr Smith and presumably all of his employees double! A source has told Borderline (privately) on being asked about Mr Smith’s remuneration said simply “That’s more than I get.” How humble can you get? Mr Matthews pays his employee/employees double and in characteristic humility explains it all with an almost throwaway line, “That’s more than I get.” C.S. Lewis was right; “True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.”

That’s good. When you are earning close to 100 grand (more by now, as Mr Smith is still an employee of Mr Mathews company BF Transport), you can afford a better standard of living and instead of a tedious hand to mouth existence common in the transport game. The employee’s (and Mr Mathews other employees) can enjoy the fruits of their labours in the spirit of equality, magnanimity and put so eloquently by Bill Shorten, the Leader of the Opposition (more or less in his own words} “the convergence of capital and labour – as one – United…”. When you’re earning $1,830.00 of which only $483.00 was remitted to the Australian Taxation Office, you can afford a few little extras—you can get a bigger bank loan and you can furnish it with the latest furnishings and gadgets. You can turn your back on the good old Aussie made Westinghouse stove and get a De Manincor or a Miele. Westinghouse is so working class.

What worries us though is if Mr Mathews is suffering. Such is his commitment to his workers, has he enough dosh to put adequate food on the table, enough to buy his kiddies a birthday present or a new frock for his wife? It can’t be easy. Not with the economy the way it is.

Some might think to themselves that no one could possibly afford such excessive remuneration to their employees and that the arrangement may be an inherently dodgy. What’s Nico up to they may say (privately). Such thoughts at best nothing more than idle, cynical conjecture which we implore be resisted. It stands to reason that when you’re paying your workers far beyond what is legally required of you do so (double), they must be a very happy workforce indeed. A happy workforce is efficient and productive workforce, which leads to satisfied customers. Happy customers are profitable customers. Everyone knows that. We can only suppose that the clients of Mr Mathews company BF Transport, pay double as well.

Perhaps Mr Shorten was right with his view of the world where “the convergence of capital and labour – as one – United…” is the only way for our society to succeed and Mr Mathews has set a precedent in Albury Wodonga that is indeed a universal precedent—a template if you like for a workers (and bosses) paradise where the bosses and workers  unite in absolute harmony, where discontent and unrest are a thing of the past and everyone lives happily ever after in eternal mateship.

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