A senior executive at the US firm which bought Barrhead Travel recommended the founder and former owner be sacked "day one after completion" of the £36 million deal, a tribunal has heard.

Joby Knapp, a senior vice president with tourism giant Travel Leaders Group, which bought the Scottish firm in February last year, went on to make Bill Munro redundant just months after the takeover.

Mr Munro is now locked in a legal battle with his former firm, claiming he was unfairly dismissed. He is seeking reinstatement with the company.

HeraldScotland: Joby KnappJoby Knapp

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An employment tribunal in Glasgow heard that during the negotiation of the deal, when Mr Knapp was looking at the Barrhead chairman’s future employment, 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 Mr Munro’s role and payment after the takeover, with the disagreement threatening to derail the buyout.

Solicitor Stephen Miller, representing Mr Munro, asked Mr Knapp: “Your view was ‘if that’s the way he’s going to be then we’ll just fire him’?”

Mr Knapp replied: “Yes, but I didn’t have the managerial responsibility to do that.”

The executive told the hearing that, as part of the takeover deal - the cost of which has never been revealed until now - Mr Munro's salary was "added back" to the final settlement, meaning Barrhead Travel received a higher offer because they agreed that he would no longer be being paid.

However, Mr Munro, who did not want to sell the business, wanted to stay on in some capacity and it was agreed that he would retain the title of chairman and be paid an hourly rate of £67 for the work he did.

Travel Leaders believed that this would only involve a small number of hours, with Mr Munro working in an "ambassadorial role" at trade events and other functions, however Mr Munro began to claim for the equivalent of full time hours.

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US bosses took issue with this and accused the businessman of "double dipping".

Mr Knapp said the hours Mr Munro claimed for "exceeded my expectation significantly".

In an email to solicitors acting for Mr Munro, he 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 former owner was threatened with disciplinary action if he did not stop contacting Barrhead customers and suppliers.

The tribunal heard that Mr 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. 

Mr Knapp admitted he thought this was a "silly" reason to refuse.

Mr Miller explained that under UK law, workers have no protection of employment if they have less than two years service. He asked Mr Knapp if he was aware of that? 

He replied that he was not.

Mr Knapp went on to consult with Mr Munro about possible redundancy and eventually dismissed him, but admitted to the hearing that had little or no knowledge of UK employment law or redundancy processes.

However, he said the actual decision to dismiss was made by Travel Leaders CEO Ninan Chacko and another executive who has now left the business.

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When asked if this decision was made before the consultation process, Mr Knapp said: "They made a business decision and had to follow the process."

Mr Miller put it to the witness: "Generally, you consult and then decide, you don't decide and then consult."

The tribunal also heard from Mr Chacko who said that he was "alarmed" by the number of hours Mr Munro was claiming for.

He said that adjustments had been made to the purchase price as a result of Mr Munro's salary being removed from the business and this was "tantamount to wanting your cake and eating it".

Mr Munro started Barrhead Travel in 1975, with just one shop and four members of staff. 

It grew to become one of the UK's largest independent travel agencies, with more than 70 stores employing around 1000 workers.

Following her father's departure, Sharon Munro, who was also a former owner, left the business the following month for "personal reasons".

The tribunal continues.