Despite provocations and threats from the Serbian government, teachers in two of the four education unions are continuing and threatening to escalate their strike. Teachers' pay in the country is already some of the lowest in Europe - approximately $416 a month. Although 70% of teachers have a higher education degree their pay is also some of the lowest in Serbia's public sector - being the same as drivers and secretaries working for example in the ministries. Because of IMF and EU imposed austerity measures, required if Serbia is to become a member of the EU, all public sector pay has been cut by a further 10%, including that of teachers.

Even the Prime Minister of Serbia admits that the teachers have got a good case, saying he 'feels for them'. Yet far from satisfying their demands the government has taken the provocative step of docking teachers' pay, who have been taking action by shortening all their lessons by 15 minutes - from 45 minutes to 30. Teachers right to strike is curtailed in the country, but the latest moves by the government have incensed them so much that they have decided to cut supplementary classes and say they might go further in April if the pay cut is not reversed.

The education minister inflamed feelings still further by saying that schools are 'overstaffed' - a statement teachers see as a veiled threat to those taking action. One union leader, Miodrag Sokic of the Union of Education Workers told the press: 'Teachers are so angry that the strike is getting out of control. Which is certain is that the school year will end with shorter, 30-minute classes. If teachers on strike receive reduced salaries in April, we will drastically radicalize the strike. The repression that the education ministry is conducting is outrageous.'