When Amrod the elf opened his Christmas pay-packet the bonus he had anticipated after twelve months of hard graft in Santa’s workshop was not there. In its place a redundancy notice spelled out the misery that was to come and, as if to underline the situation, an icy blast forced its way through the cracked window beside his work bench, sending a shiver down his tiny spine and wood shavings across the cold hard floor.
He looked around at his fellow elves who also stared in disbelief at the parchment notices which they held in their diminutive hands. Their pointy ears and long noses shook as feelings of anger and betrayal overcame them.
“It was a real kick in the teeth,” said Amrod. “After all the overtime we’d put in in freezing conditions we didn’t expect this kind of treatment. Besides the toy making some of us actually put in voluntary time to clear up tons of reindeer shit to help Santa out because he’s not getting any younger.”
An elfin union representative said, “Our members have also paid for extra training out of their own little purses in the manufacturing of high-tech toys like computers, video games, DVD players, and even mobile phones. So making it easier to sack hard working elves is the last thing we need. These measures will not create a single extra job."
However, Employment Relations Minister Jo Swinson said the move was aimed at helping elves and Santa. "These processes are usually completed well within the existing 90-day minimum period, which can cause unnecessary delays for restructuring, and make it difficult for affected elves to get new jobs quickly. Some of them could in fact be looking for Easter positions while consultations take place.”
According to the Government, the reforms will strike an appropriate balance between making sure that elves are engaged in decisions about their future and allow Santa a greater certainty and flexibility to take necessary steps to restructure."
Shadow employment relations minister Ian Murray said: "The government should be making it easier to hire elves, not easier to fire them. The Panto season will soon be over too so we need a real plan for jobs and growth, not an attack on elves’ rights at work."
In news just announced, Rudolph the red nosed reindeer is leading a walk out in support of his elfin comrades. Many other reindeers including Donner and Blitzen have also pledged their support, but as yet there is no news from Comet.