MP calls for business secretary to offer support to Oyster Yachts workers

Norman Lamb MP visiting Oyster Yachts in Hoveton during a visit in 2014. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Norman Lamb MP visiting Oyster Yachts in Hoveton during a visit in 2014. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Business secretary Greg Clark has been called upon to intervene to help hundreds of workers left in the lurch by the collapse of Oyster Yachts.

The boat-building company sent staff home last week, telling them that there was no cash left to pay them, after its owners reportedly lost patience with attempts to recover costs following the sinking of an Oyster-made yacht.

Around 400 workers have been made redundant, despite the company boasting in January that it was heading into 2018 with a record order book worth more than £80m.

Norman Lamb, MP for North Norfolk, where Oyster employed more than 150 people at its base in Hoveton, has called upon the business secretary to intervene on behalf of workers.

'It's an outrageous situation which needs a swift response from government to reassure employees that they have support in this difficult period. How this can have happened when Oyster Yachts was apparently financially prosperous also needs to be investigated,' said Mr Lamb, adding that staff have been given no information about pay or redundancy settlements.

'Are there any effective sanctions for this sort of behaviour? I'm sure you will agree that it is yet another example of the unacceptable face of capitalism.'

Read more: MP demands talks with Oyster Yachts owner after staff are given redundancy noticeOyster Marine Holdings Ltd called in administrators last week, though the process does not include other companies in the Oyster group.

David Tydeman, chief executive of Oyster Yachts, said it was still in discussions about its future.

'We are working to try and rescue the company and there are still some opportunities that we are looking into,' he told The Times.

He also said that delays in recovering costs from the sinking of the Polina Star III, a luxury yacht which sank off Spain in July 2015, had led to Dutch backers HTP Investments pulling the plug.

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The sinking left a £5.8m hole in the company's balance sheet, and it has been pursuing a £7.2m counterclaim against a subcontractor which has not yet been settled. Mr Tydeman said the arbitration date had now been pushed back to around May 'and that influenced the appetite of investors'.