A boss at Travel Leaders, the US firm that bought Barrhead Travel, said he planned to dismiss founder and former owner Bill Munro “day one after completion” of the £36 million deal, a tribunal has heard.
Joby Knapp, a senior vice-president with Travel Leaders, which bought the Scottish firm in 2018, made Munro redundant just months after the deal.
Munro has now launched legal action against his former firm claiming unfair dismissal. He is seeking to be reinstated to the company.
An employment tribunal in Glasgow heard that during the negotiation of the deal, when Knapp was looking at Munro’s future employment with them, he sent an email saying: “F him! I’m happy to acquiesce but my recommendation is to serve him notice day one after completion.”
The pair had been in dispute over Munro’s role and payment after the takeover, which threatened to derail the buyout.
Solicitor Stephen Miller, representing Munro, asked Knapp: “Your view was ‘if that’s the way he’s going to be then we’ll just fire him’?”
Knapp replied: “Yes, but I didn’t have the managerial responsibility to do that.”
The tribunal also heard that the US boss had little or no knowledge of UK employment law or redundancy process when he took the decision to dismiss Munro.
He also told the hearing that, as part of the takeover deal, the cost of which has never been revealed until now, Barrhead agreed to give up Munro’s salary, meaning the final settlement was significantly higher.
However, it was agreed that he would stay on as chairman and be paid an hourly rate of £67 for the work he did.
Munro began claiming for hours in excess of what was expected; Travel Leaders took issue with what he was claiming for and accused him of “double dipping”.
In an email to solicitors acting for Munro, Knapp wrote: “Either he’s really dense and didn’t understand while he was nodding along, or he’s trying to take us for a ride.”
The tribunal heard Munro was offered a new position with Travel Leaders UK instead of staying on at Barrhead, but refused because this removed his 42 years continuous service with the firm.
When this was put to Knapp he said this was a “silly” issue to be concerned about.
Miller explained that under UK law, workers have no protection of employment if they have less than two years service. He asked Knapp if he was aware of that.
He replied that he wasn’t.
The tribunal continues.
Copy supplied by the Herald Scotland