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Retentions rift gets ATLAS's world spinning

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I am writing on behalf of all the members of the ATLAS (Association of Technical Lightning and Access Specialists) to support Peter Foster, the president of the Contract Flooring Association (CFA), for his recent outcry regarding retentions.

Foster's comments have provoked unprecedented reaction from our members. Well done Peter, we are with you all the way.

We have a small but highly specialist membership, yet many members have to employ fulltime staff to chase retentions.

This situation is ridiculous, compounded by the fact that these retention sums are often only £30 and cost more to recover than to forget. Undoubtedly this is exactly what many retention abusers are banking on - literally.

We estimate that the majority of our members' retentions take over two years to recover, and over 40 per cent of all retentions are never recovered at all, simply because it is not financially viable to do so. We have calculated that retentions abuse in our industry alone affects over 250,000 individuals in associated businesses. As Peter Foster reminded us, these are all of voting age. If you extrapolate this figure to include all trade associations, we believe Foster's figure of 1.5 million potential voters is very conservative and the figure is in fact nearer five million. This is significant voting power.

Peter Foster has hit the nail on the head and has certainly captured the imagination of our entire membership.We welcome this initiative and formally join the CFA to make retentions abuse a major political issue for the next election.

Roger Coonie, president, ATLAS

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