If only this happened prior to the state election. As I predicted this is happening. Howard bends on WorkChoicesBy Clinton Porteous May 04, 2007 01:00am 'Fairness test' for workers earning up to $75k Aims to ensure workers no worse off under contracts Labor says backdown only about getting re-elected THE industrial relations war will be taken to a new level today when John Howard announces changes to his policy aimed at middle- and low-income earners. The Prime Minister will announce a new "fairness test" to apply to new work contracts for all people earning up to $75,000 a year. The measure will come into force next Monday night and aims to ensure workers are no worse off when they trade away conditions such as penalty rates, overtime and leave loadings. The new test will apply to all Australian Workplace Agreements and collective agreements submitted to the renamed Workplace Authority. The shift by Mr Howard comes less than a week after Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd unveiled his IR policy, since condemned by business groups. The move is likely to be interpreted as an attempt to outflank Labor. Labor is calling the move a "desperate" backdown aimed only at getting re-elected, and that no one should believe the changes will stay past election day. Mr Howard is expected to claim to have seized the middle group and to dismiss Labor's policy as extreme. Today's announcement set up industrial relations as a key battle in the run-up to the election. Labor has long argued that WorkChoices is designed to drive down wages and strip away conditions. The test will determine, through a series of criteria that will be put in legislation, whether adequate compensation has been provided for the sacrificing of conditions. The compensation does not necessarily have to be higher pay but could be greater flexibility, such as time off to pick-up children or even permanent use of parking space. WorkChoices has five minimum conditions for all workers, while Labor in its policy, released at the weekend, has doubled this to 10 and promised to axe Australian Workplace Agreements.