Public servants at the Commonwealth's largest department have revealed the reasons behind their crushing rejection of the government's pay offer.
The 1.5 per cent pay offer was the main motivation cited in the official departmental survey, but fear of the loss of conditions and entitlements were the next most widespread reasons for the no vote.
Workers at Human Services voted by an overwhelming 83 per cent to 17 per cent in September to reject the deal in a result that was felt across the 152,000-strong Australian Public Service.
Bosses in other departments and agencies, most of whom are also deadlocked on wages talks, will also be taking note of the findings of the DHS surveys after a series of no votes in recent weeks deepened the industrial relations crisis gripping the federal government.
About 3200 DHS public servants took part in the post-ballot survey as their department's senior managers looked to pick up the pieces of September's defeat.
The largest group of respondents were at the rank-and-file APS 3 or APS 4 level, mostly working in call centres or Centrelink or Medicare shopfronts around Australia.
More than 1000 of the workers said the pay offer just did not meet expectations while another 824 were worried that the "streamlining" of their enterprise agreement as mandated by the Coalition's tough bargaining policy would cost them some of their entitlements.
Another 408 employees voted no because they feared slower salary advancement, while more than 300 thought they would lose their right to consult on their working hours and their family friendly conditions were threatened.
The results indicate the vigorous "no" campaign run by the main workplace union the CPSU cut through in the weeks before the vote with the main themes of the union's effort reflected in the responses to the post-ballot survey.
In her notes accompanying the survey results, Jo Talbot, the DHS executive fronting the pay talks. was making no promises about an improved offer.
"While we may not be able to make changes to all the areas you identify as being important, the poll has given us a clearer indication of why you voted the way you did and will assist with our ongoing negotiations," Ms Talbot wrote.
"Next steps are to consider this feedback and then schedule a further bargaining meeting."
But CPSU National Secretary Nadine Flood said the department had little choice but to heed the feedback from its workers.
"The mums and dads who work in Centrelink and Medicare will not accept an enterprise agreement that strips away their rights, conditions and cuts real wages, with cuts masquerading as productivity and flexibility," the union leader said.
"It's telling that support for the pay offer in this survey is virtually non-existent and ironically matches the offer itself, with just 1.5 per cent of those polled saying they're happy with what's currently on the table."
"There's barely more support for the agreement's attack on rights and conditions, with just over 2 per cent of workers who completed the survey indicating they're satisfied.
"The vast majority are utterly unhappy at the prospect of losing a raft of conditions, especially important family friendly provisions."
Ms Flood, who held talks with public service minister Michaelia Cash last week, said DHS's status as the Commonwealth's largest department meant the Turnbull government needed to heed the message.
"This is the single-biggest Commonwealth agency and the Government should listen to the clear message being sent and change the bargaining policy to find a fair and realistic resolution to this impasse," Ms Flood said.
"It is positive that new Minister Michaelia Cash has been willing to talk with the CPSU, but the more important step will be making sensible changes to the Government's existing bargaining policy.
"I'd call on Minister Cash to make it a priority to resolve this before Christmas."
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