THE Impact trade union has defended a letter distributed to politicians telling them not to ask civil service staff for help as they would be ignored.

The correspondence, which was circulated to TDs and councillors in Wexford, has been criticised in political circles as being of "kindergarten" mentality.

However, Impact said the letters were necessary to shore up political support for its members. The names of politicians who responded positively will be circulated ahead of the next election.

It is the latest tense development in the public sector pay dispute which has seen the implementation of work restrictions across the board.

The letter, signed by Wexford chairman Bob Cowman, tells its political recipients: "Anyone who hasn't been asleep since December '08 is aware of the pay cuts, embargo, threats to pension etc.

"Many [of our members] have worked in assisting you with various representations on behalf of constituents over the years. However we note how unsupportive and silent you have been in relation to the attack on the public service lately.

"We and our families will remember those of you who ignored us at future elections."

With members instructed not to process requests for information from elected representatives, politicians have been told simply not to inquire.

Fine Gael's Michael Darcy said: "I thought it was hilarious considering we [Fine Gael] voted against the cuts.:

Padge Reck, a councillor for over three decades with a background in trade unions said: "Whoever wrote it just came out of kindergarten."

Cowman said that he had been contacted by several politicians who were not impressed with his letter but said that it was invaluable in identifying those in support of the union.

"The reason for it, and what we found beneficial, is that those who are in support of us have come back and said they are in support," he said.