Gordon Brown today insisted he would take action on redundancy payments for civil servants despite opposition from Labour backbenchers and trade unions.
He was challenged about proposed "slashes" to the Civil Service Compensation Scheme by Labour's Dai Havard.
The Prime Minister said there was extra protection for the lowest paid civil servants but said he "cannot defend" the golden goodbyes for senior mandarins.
At Prime Minister's questions, Mr Havard (Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney) said: "You will know there is a need to change legislation for the Civil Service Compensation Scheme.
"You will also know that this is being used as an opportunity by the permanent secretaries' dining club to propose slashes to the entitlement of lower-paid civil servants in the event of redundancy."
He called for a guarantee that the measure would not be sneaked through Parliament on the last day before the Christmas break.
"Will you please give an assurance that no such device, such as a statutory instrument, which I believe is proposed to be tabled on the last day when we recess for Christmas, will be introduced into this House to operate such a scheme from the first day of January?
"And will you ensure that no legislation is introduced until a new agreement is established with the unions concerned?"
Mr Brown said: "There is indeed extra protection for the lowest-paid civil servants as well as ensuring that all the savings the Government has committed to will be achieved.
"But I cannot defend a system where there are six-times the ordinary salary at the very top of civil servants who take voluntary retirement.
"That is a system that has got to change and it will change."Reuse content