20 December, 2015. 13:06
ERROL PARKER | Editor-at-large | Contact
WORLD-RENOWNED PHILANTHROPIST Santa Claus was forced by rising Scandinavian labour costs and a plummeting US dollar to move his manufacturing base from Lapland in Northern Finland to Shenzhen in Southern China – something human rights groups say is costing lives.
Chinese employees at Claus’ new factory have since protested their working conditions, which monitoring organisations describe as “slave-like”.
Representatives of the Finnish company that controls the rights to Christmas-theme merchandise, including decorations and stocking fillers, have lashed out at Amnesty International in response to the allegations.
“Our workers are some of the highest paid peasants in the whole of China,” said one official. “We employ a local population on a casual contract. They’re free to leave whenever they want. But they aren’t entitled to benefits befitted to full-time workers.”
One Elf said she’s being forced to work upwards of 18 hours a day, without a break, to meet the demands leading up to the Western world’s biggest holiday. Chao-xing Fung said she started work as an elf earlier this year. She was forced to quit her job at another prominent Chinese manufacturing plant that made mobile phones because she refused to have an abortion after falling pregnant.
“I was lucky to find this job after I lost my old one. I like this one more, because I get to see my son twice a week,” she said. “He is such a blessing, if it weren’t for him, or the suicide nets on the side of the building, I would’ve ended it all a long time ago.”
The overwhelming majority of Santa’s elves have said the installation of suicide netting on the side of their factory has done little to raise the level of moral. But some have argued that the stifled weeping of people who’ve been saved by the net sounds better than the wet crunchy thud of a body hitting concrete at terminal velocity.
With Christmas only a matter of days away, most of the heavily lifting is now over for Claus’ employees, who will now be re-tasked with manufacturing Easter decorations and whatnot.