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Workers at the Communications Department are Australia's unluckiest public servants

First they had to apply for their own jobs, with up to a quarter of the department shown the door, then they agreed to take a 1.5 per cent pay rise while nearly everyone else will get at least 2 per cent.

Then their popular boss Drew Clarke was poached by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to run his own office and the 400 survivors of the Communications Department are probably wondering what can happen next.

Only the 400 public servants at ComSuper have fared worse, wages-wise, agreeing last year to a single upfront increase of 2.6 per cent which looks like it will be all they get for three years.

The Canberra Times reported last week that thousands of Commonwealth public servants have had their pay packets quietly topped-up above the levels they voted to accept last year.

Six departments and agencies, including Communications and ComSuper, voted last year to accept pay offers of 1.5 per cent or less as the battle between the Coalition government and most of its 150,000 public servants raged on.

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But after the government softened its policy, allowing pay rises of 2 per cent, Treasury, DSS and the Public Service Commission quietly moved to top-up its public servants' wages.

A spokesman confirmed this week that he and his colleagues had so far missed out on top-up payments scored by their counterparts at Treasury, Social Service and the PS Commission, but there was hope.

"The current agreement provides for pay increases of 1.5 per cent in year two and 1 per cent in year three," the spokesman said.

"Following the change to the government's bargaining policy, there is scope for this pay offer to be increased, subject to affordability and consultation with the Workplace Consultative Committee and staff representatives.

"This process is ongoing."

Being left behind in the wages stakes is the latest of a series of misfortunes to befall Communications staffers.

In mid-2014 up to 25 per cent of them lost out in a department-wide "spill and fill" forced on it by the incoming Coalition government.

The following year the department voted for a below-inflation pay deal only to find itself left behind when the government changed its policy and allowed higher pay rises.

In late 2015, the department's former minister Malcolm Turnbull, after winning the prime ministership, drafted in Mr Clarke, to run his office.

Mr Clarke, who had been one of the bureaucracy's more popular leaders among their staff, has been placed permanently in the PMO role.

At Comsuper, which merged with the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation in mid-2015, there was no help in sight for their wages problem.

Spokesman Michael Carberry refused to answer questions about whether adjustment would be made to its 2015 deal and referred inquiries to the agency's annual report.

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