State conciliator Henn Pärn said after meeting the parties involved in the Tallink ferry company's labor dispute that both sides were digging in for "war."
He said the dispute had deteriorated significantly after members of the Estonian Seamen's Independent Union held a one-hour work stoppage on Monday.
The unions are not giving up their demand for a 15 percent raise, while Tallink won't budge from the 5.5 percent it is offering, said Pärn.
Pärn said each party used the one-hour afternoon strike for its own spin purposes, saying: "There aren't any problems with legality, but it's more about ethics, how the partners talk to one another. It appears to me that any good relationship has been destroyed and it's like they are at war."
Tallink is also cross over the warning strike going ahead before workers met management as part of the conciliation process.
"On January 7, EMSA met the state conciliator and today we met the state conciliator but EMSA went ahead with the strike before we had a chance to be involved in the process. That added tension to the situation," said Tallink Group's personnel and development director Vahur Ausmees.
EMSA's head Jüri Lember countered: "The strike was done by the books. Negotiations started on September 6 and the other side had many opportunities during the following month and a half to meet us part way."
The conciliator, Tallink and workers are due to meet next Tuesday, but Pärn has counseled the company to sit down with the union before that.