Barrhead Travel founder Bill Munro has said Travel Leaders “put him in a straitjacket” after it bought the travel agency giant, insisting his bid to be reinstated is “not about money”.
Munro launched the Glasgow-headquartered company in 1975, but was dismissed after it was sold to US-based firm Travel Leaders Group (TLG) in February last year for £36 million.
He has taken the company to an employment tribunal in a bid to be reinstated, citing unfair dismissal. The hearing began on Tuesday 12 November and is expected to last four days.
Munro told the hearing in Glasgow his legal challenge was not financially motivated and he wanted to return to doing what he loved.
“They [TLG] perfectly knew that they were going to try and get rid of me – it’s all wrong,” he said at the hearing.
“If I was to be ambassador I need to speak to senior people in these companies to know what’s going on.
“I was not wanting to speak to them about contributing to Barrhead, it was about me discussing these businesses and doing my job.
“I had no contact with anyone, apart from on Facebook. I was sitting at home watching TV. People were stopping me in the gym and in the street and I had to tell them I couldn’t discuss Barrhead.
“They didn’t allow me to have contact with Barrhead or anyone else. They put me in a straitjacket. They wanted rid of me.”
Munro insisted he believed he had a future with the company.
He said: “I’m here to try and get my job back in the travel industry, something I enjoy.
“I’m not here for money. Travel Leaders were moving the goalposts, not me. There was a huge amount of misunderstanding all the way through this.
“I’ve paid my penance. I’ve sat at home for two years near enough and been miserable. Travel Leaders aren’t letting me work.”
But TLG president John O’Hara told the hearing earlier this week it was “too far gone” for Munro to be reinstated, and that he had been a “disruption”.
It had been agreed that Munro would be paid £67 per hour on a zero-hours basis for an “ambassadorial” role, but bosses at TLG were surprised by how many hours he claimed.
He rejected a new contract on the basis that his 43 years of service to Barrhead would not be recognised, and the company was obliged to pay him £15,000 following the row.
The hearing was due to continue on Friday.