Usdaw is urging BHS administrators to redouble their efforts to find a buyer.
And the shopworkers’ union has called on the accountants to protect staff at every step if no new owner can be found.
Administrators Duff & Phelps announced yesterday that the High Street chain was to be wound down with the loss of 11,000 jobs and the closure of all 163 stores, including branches in Sunderland, Durham, South Shields and Hartlepool.
Stores may be sold off individually, but staff do not know whether their jobs will go or not.
Usdaw national officer Dave Gill said: “I was encouraged by a conversation I’ve had this morning with the administrators, who were keen to tell me that they hadn’t liquidated the company and, although it’s on a structured wind down, the door is still open to a buyer who can meet their criteria.
“I am urging the administrators to redouble their efforts - it’s the very least long-serving and loyal BHS staff deserve after the shock of yesterday’s announcement.
“I have also made it clear there is a legal requirement to consult with staff and we expect to be a part of that as the union for BHS workers.
“A failure to properly consult could force Usdaw to seek a protective award at employment tribunal, which delays staff receiving what they are rightfully entitled to and can result in the taxpayers picking up the bill.
“In the meantime we are providing the support and advice our members in BHS require at this very difficult time.”
A former BHS employee has launched an online campaign calling on the chain’s former owner Sir Philip Green to make up the shortfall in the company’s pension pot.
Lin MacMillan worked at BHS in the 1980s and the introduction to her petition ‘Sell the yachts and pay the pensions’ says: “We seek justice for the staff and pensioners of BHS. We call on Philip Green and his family to bail out the pension fund which currently has a deficit of £571million.”