PENNEYS' managers are set for a 2pc pay rise although the cut-price clothing chain refused to give a similar wage increase to 3,000 lower-paid staff.
The lower-paid workers have been instructed by their union to "take every legitimate opportunity" to tell managers of their disappointment at the way they are being treated.
In a letter to members, Mandate's Penneys national negotiating team said the clothing chain confirmed it is giving the majority of management grades a 2pc pay rise, backdated to September.
The negotiators said members were experiencing more "hurt and despair" after a 2.5pc pay rise had been given to workers at its sister business in Northern Ireland last year.
"It is important that you and your fellow union members take every legitimate opportunity to directly express to management your disappointment at the way you are being treated," the letter stated. "Otherwise, silence will be seen as compliance and acceptance." The team condemned the decision to pay the increase at a time when it had been forced to refer a claim for a 3pc pay increase to the Labour Court.
The union officials said it could only be seen as "a slight and a total disregard for the contribution made by the vast majority of workers who are principally responsible for driving the significant success of the Penneys business in recent years".
The union is also trying to ensure that average weekly earnings are protected by preventing part-timers' hours being cut, particularly for those with no contractual rights. Penneys has tabled plans to introduce a lower pay scale for new recruits.
Talks on the pay rise claim collapsed earlier this month and the dispute was referred to the Labour Court. A Penneys spokesperson was not available for comment last night.