A senior Travel Leaders boss said he planned to sack Barrhead Travel founder Bill Munro “one day after completion” of the £36 million deal.
Senior vice president Joby Knapp made former owner Munro redundant months after the deal to buy the agency, which was completed in March 2018.
In the first day of an employment tribunal in Glasgow over Munro’s legal claims for unfair dismissal, the hearing heard that during negotiations when Knapp sent an email about Munro’s future at the firm 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 takeover deal – the value of which had not been disclosed until Tuesday.
Munro’s solicitor Stephen Miller asked Mr 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 the American 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 deal, Barrhead Travel agreed to give up Mr Munro’s salary, meaning the final settlement was significantly higher.
However, it was agreed he would stay on as chairman and be paid £67 an hour.
When 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, and asked Knapp if he was aware of that? He replied that he wasn’t.
The tribunal continues.
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