2017 CHU Strata Community Awards winners: Essay Award

Essay Award winner: Frank Boross, Havencab

Frank celebrating at this year’s CHU Strata Community Awards

One of the newest categories added this year to the CHU Strata Community Awards was the Essay Award which encourages Strata Community Australia (NSW) members – strata managers, strata services and lot owners – to submit an essay of around 1,000 words on a current topical strata issue. The essay can be humorous or informative but must demonstrate an understanding of the topic and its relevance to the strata community.

The winning entry for 2017 was an essay on ethics, written by Frank Boross, Group Director of Havencab a strata integrated Facilities Company who has long campaigned for businesses in the cleaning industry to practice ethical behaviour.

“Businesses in general are unethical because they believe they have a lot to gain by acting in a certain way,” Frank says.

“In the cleaning industry this occurs every minute of every day with some companies choosing to pay less than award conditions or offering commissions to get work. This is wrong and can lead to prosecution by the Fair Work Commission.

“We don’t operate like this and my philosophy is that anyone in my company who does can immediately find themselves out of a job.”

Frank notes in his essay:

‘The latest FWO annual report … (notes) that the majority of litigations (42 per cent) concerned wages and conditions, with cleaning services featuring prominently in these cases. Such exploitation may be explained in part by tendering processes that award cleaning contracts to the lowest bidder. This is, after all, how the free market works: minimum outlay for maximum benefit. It is a reasonable business focus.

‘This is highly relevant to the strata management industry because there are 270,000 strata properties through Australia, that all need contractors. The strata manager has a lot to do with recommending contractors and issuing work orders on behalf of their Owners, and they can get caught up in Section 550 of the act.   Without any burden on strata managers and property owners to ensure the cleaning company they contracted is providing appropriate wages and conditions, workers – real human beings – end up bearing the brunt of these arrangements.

‘The fact is, these corporations are cheating the Australian public by cheating their workers. The current arrangement isn’t fair to workers or to taxpayers – nor is it equitable to employers who play by the rules, pay family-supporting wages and contribute their fair share of taxes. Clearly there’s nothing wrong with being a profitable corporation, but that success shouldn’t come at the expense of workers, communities and the economy.’

“To be successful you don’t need to be unethical,” Frank says citing the example of Lance Armstrong.

“He had the world at his feet but got there on a lie, and now all the good that he’s done through his career, charities and relationships has come crashing down. People will and do get caught.”

Having his essay highlighted is a very pleasing result for Frank as he gets to highlight an issue that he is most passionate about.

“It is important that we do the right thing in the strata industry because so many people are involved and because of the consequences can damage more than just the reputation of those directly perpetrating the action.”

“I relish the opportunity to highlight the issue around fair pay but also the need for us all to think about our actions and to do only what’s right.”

“We require that all employees disclose gifts and commissions and if they are unsure of the correct approach the doors of the senior managers and myself are always open to discuss the matter. If it’s not good behaviour we can quickly identify it with the person and take steps to ensure our integrity and honesty remain intact.”

Havencab has won the SCA (NSW) ethics award several times in the past because of the training it gives to its staff and because they lead by example with their ethics policy available through their office.

Frank’s essay will be available to read once the National competition has been awarded in mid-2018. The winning entry will be published in Inside Strata after which we will publish Frank’s essay.

All that’s left is to say congratulations Frank and good luck for the National competition. Thank you for sharing your passion in a positive and helpful way.