Zimbabwe’s government has sacked more than 10,000 nurses who went on strike on Monday, in an apparently hardline attempt to quell labour unrest.
Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga said the nurses had refused to return to work after $17m (£12m) was released to increase their pay.
He chided them for not going back “in the interest of saving lives”.
But the extraordinary move may simply be a tactic aimed at forcing the nurses back to work, correspondents say.
Reviving the health sector has been a key challenge for President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who recently agreed to pay rises in order to end a doctors’ strike.