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27Jan94 UK: BEC CLAIMS PENSIONS VICTORY - OVER GOVERNMENT.

Industry chiefs are claiming victory over Government plans to drop pension proposals which would have put private contractors off tendering for local authority jobs.Department of the Environment officials wanted construction companies taking over council work to offer 'broadly comparable' pensions to staff.But those plans have been blasted by Building Employers Confederation leaders who say the scheme would rule out many smaller contractors from bidding for work.A BEC task force met with the Government last week. And the controversial pension plans look destined to be dumped.BEC director of legal and public affairs, Jennie Price said: 'We warned the DoE that if this was issued in its original form, it could mean the end of the Government's entire policy of compulsory competitive tendering.'This would have been a savage blow to the Government, the construction industry and local taxpayers alike.'DoE officials issued a guidance note late last week outlining the latest changes.Shadow local government minister Doug Henderson warned that construction workers could suffer.He said: 'Earlier ministers appeared to recognise that employees transferred from a local authority under compulsory competitive tendering should retain broadly comparable pension arrangements.'But ministers, terrified this would spell the collapse of their beloved programme, have reneged on this commitment and workers do not know where they stand.' CONSTRUCTION NEWS

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