The Chairman of the Association of Higher Civil and Public Servants has warned that the impartiality of the civil service could not be guaranteed in future if the Government continued to unfairly target its members.

Tom Allen told the AHCPS annual conference in Dublin that the Government had decided to hit its members disproportionately.

He said they had been worse-hit compared to other public servants and other sectors of society.

Mr Allen said they had faced a series of what he called sustained, barbaric attacks on salary levels over the past five years.

Under the terms of Croke Park II, which was rejected overwhelmingly by members, senior civil servants would face pay cuts.

They would also face a three-year increment freeze and changes in flexible working arrangements.

Mr Allen said imposing a higher tax rate for top earners would be a fairer way of meeting budget deficits rather than forcing AHCPS members into extreme hardship.

General Secretary Dave Thomas told delegates that the Croke Park II proposals had the potential to divide the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and could also increase the divide between the public and private sectors.

He said that the only way to get out of this was for unions to bury their differences and pull together, get back into talks and try to come out with a solution that could be implemented.

Mr Thomas said getting into the trenches was no good for anyone.

He said the AHCPS was in talks with Labour Relations Commission Chief Executive Kieran Mulvey to investigate if there is any proposal that would be more acceptable to members than Croke Park II.