A proposed 10% pay hike for civil servants in Zimbabwe, which would have translated to an increase of only $41 for the lowest paid employees, has been rejected by public service unions.
It sets the stage for a full-blown strike by 300 000 public workers in two weeks' time.
The Apex Council, an umbrella body for civil servants, earlier this week issued a notice of its intention to go on strike, citing an erosion of salaries by the harsh economic environment.
Inflation has been on the rise over the past few months and was recorded at 31% in November last year by the official agency.
The rejection of the pay hike by public servants is likely to bring more pressure to bear on President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
This comes amid a demand for payment in US dollars by businesses.
His administration is presiding over the worst economic meltdown in the country since hyper-inflation in 2008, which eroded savings and led to the demise of the Zimbabwean dollar.