The head of a union representing Thomas Cook shop staff has called for an urgent meeting with business secretary Andrea Leadsom about the rescue of Thomas Cook.

Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association general secretary Manuel Cortes demanded  financial support for the troubled travel giant amid reports that Thomas Cook is on the brink of administration as it tries to secure a rescue deal led by Chinese conglomerate Fosun.

It comes after creditor banks issued a last-minute demand that the travel company find an extra £200 million.

The TSSA – which has members at Thomas Cook both in high street shops across the UK and in its office operations – wants government intervention in the face of reports suggesting ministers may be unwilling step in.

Cortes said in his letter to the business secretary: “I am writing to you seeking an urgent meeting about the crisis facing Thomas Cook.

‘It is incumbent upon the government to act if required and save this iconic cornerstone of the British high street and the thousands of jobs that go with it.

“Thomas Cook can be a highly successful business and must be given every opportunity to flourish. I urge you to stand ready to assist Thomas Cook with real financial support.

‘The company must be rescued no matter what.

“No British government in its right mind would countenance the loss of so many jobs and the prospect of just one major travel operator – Tui – controlling the mass market.”