A SENIOR union leader has warned public servants that the Government could seek 18,500 redundancies if talks on a Croke Park II deal fail.
Tom Geraghty said €1bn savings that would be sought at talks starting on Monday equalled "a cut in staffing of 18,500".
The general secretary of the Public Service Executive Union said it was also equal in value to previous government cuts that were imposed without agreement, including a 6pc pay cut and the pension levy.
But Mr Geraghty, who chairs the umbrella body for 26 public sector unions, said its priority was to protect state employees against a government attempt to impose compulsory redundancies or pay cuts.
Mr Geraghty told his members that to achieve the saving by agreement, pay increments were likely to be on the table.
The union chief also said allowances, overtime, expenses and working time cuts would be up for debate at next week's discussions to secure €1bn in savings over three years.
"The Government will be cutting the public service pay bill by the order of €1bn, as a contribution towards this adjustment," he said in the message to his 10,000 members. "To put this into context, the adjustment required is the equivalent of a cut in staffing of 18,500".
However, he said the Public Services Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions aimed to protect the Croke Park deal's guarantees that jobs, pay and pensions were safe from cuts.