Professor Hugh Clegg, academic and Government adviser; born May 22, 1920, died December 1995

PROFESSOR Hugh Clegg, who has died at the age of 75, was the most influential academic of the Wilson and Callaghan years and was highly respected by the trades unions when they had great influence. Not surprisingly he found little favour with the Tories.

During the sixties and seventies Hugh Clegg played a major role in Labour's often turbulent relations with the trade unions who exercised more power than they can ever expect to again, even under a Labour administration.

As a member of the Royal Commission on Trades Unions and Employers' Associations set up in 1965 by a Labour Government seeking to curb the ``strike problem'' through legislation he single-handledly diverted the commission away from Barbara Castle's controversial ``In Place of Strife'' proposals and won support for his view that reform should be achieved through agreement with unions and not legal sanctions.

He was also a founder member of the National Board for Prices and Incomes, chairman of the Civil Service Arbitration Tribunal, and a member of the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Services and sat on many boards of inquiry which were then seen as an acceptable way resolving industrial crises.

But it was his final public role as chairman of the Commission on Pay Comparability, dubbed the Clegg Commission, that proved his most controversial. Set up in 1979 by James Callaghan as a way out of the so-called ``Winter of Discontent'' - caused by public sector unions striking in support of pay demands - it involved comparing the terms and conditions of public service workers, including local authority and NHS workers and teachers, with comparable workers in the private sector.

Clegg recommended increases for all the public sector grades in the study and for electoral purposes Mrs Thatcher agreed to honour them, although after defeating Callaghan she soon abolished the Clegg Commission which she blamed for boosting the Government's pay bill by 25%. When the commission was abolished in 1980 the concept of scientific comparability of wage rates between one sector and another effectively died with it.

The son of a Methodist minister, Clegg went to Kingswood School, Bath, going on to Magdelen College, Oxford, just before the Second World War. After serving seven years in the Army as a telephone engineer he returned to Oxford where he became a protege of the left-wing historian G D H Cole who encouraged him to develop the largely undeveloped field of industrial relations. He became a fellow of Nuffield College in 1949.

He left Oxford in 1967 to become Professor of Industrial Relations at the new Warwick University in Coventry where he helped forge one of Britain's most successful post-war universities. There he established the Social Science Research Council's industrial relations research unit which helped build the university's reputation in business studies.

Born in May 1922, Hugh Armstrong Clegg was a prolific author whose works included a three-part History of British Trades Unions and How to Run an Incomes Policy, and Why We Made a Mess of the Last One.

He married Matilda Shaw in 1941 and they had two sons and two daughters.