Christmas in jeopardy as elves stage sit-in protest

[This article first appeared in The Spanner Magazine Christmas Edition]

Thousands of workers at the largest toy manufacturing facility in the North Pole have locked themselves inside the factory in protest at what they consider to be “grossly unfair redundancy packages.” Almost 3,000 elves were let go from the plant last month as part of a swathe of cost-cutting measures being implemented by The Toy Company Ltd.'s receivers KPMG.

KPMG took over the manufacturing section of the company when the owner, Santa Claus, was unable to repay debts on the international property portfolio he had accumulated during the boom years. Mr. Claus still maintains control of the distribution section of the company, although with the production of toys currently at a standstill it is doubtful that there will be any presents to distribute this Christmas.

Elves - Demanding fair treatment
The elves barricaded themselves inside the factory last month and have vowed to stay there “as long as it takes.” Some of them spoke to reporters through the barricades: “I've worked here for 400 years,” said one elf,” and they're only offering me half of what I'm entitled to through statutory redundancy.” Another elf remarked, “I'm 650 years old next week, I've worked for Mr. Claus all my life. How is someone my age supposed to retrain in the computers or internetwork?”

The local community in the North Pole has given its unconditional backing to the elves and Mr. Claus. A rally is being organised for next week so that local people can show their support for the Claus family, who claim they have been demonised by the Arctic Circle media. “The Clauses built up their business from nothing and created jobs in the North Pole when there was nothing here but snow and misery. They should be left alone,” commented a local reindeer, who refused to be named.

Santa - Feeling the strain
Residents of the wider Arctic Circle have derided the “gombeen antics” of those in the North Pole: “Everyone in the Arctic Circle is paying for what Santa Claus did. He gambled in the property market and now we're all paying for his bailout. He should be ashamed: They should all be ashamed,” said one angry polar bear.

Mr. Claus would not comment on the issue as he continues his boycott of the media but sources close to him have said that he has become withdrawn lately, spending hours alone in his study, drinking hot whiskies and listening to Fairytale of New York on repeat.