OBITUARY : Peter Hagger
Tuesday 07 March 1995
This apparent contradiction can be explained by the fact that, despite the scale of his contribution to the Transport and General Workers' Union, Hagger was no glory-seeker. To him the movement itself - the ordinary members it represents - was more important than its leaders.
Beginning his working life as a computer engineer, Hagger became a London taxi-driver in 1969 and started activity in the Cab Section of the Transport and General Workers' Union in 1972. His leadership qualities soon became apparent and by the end of the decade he was Chair of our Region 1 Cab Trade Committee and a member of the T&G's General Executive Council. The 1980s saw him elected on to the General Council of the TUC, where he chaired the joint Consultative Committee for the Trade Union Councils (local TUCs). More recently, he became Vice-Chair of our General Executive Council and, had he lived, he would almost certainly have succeeded the retiring incumbent, Dan Duffy, as Chair.
But a mere litany of the posts that Peter Hagger held can express neither the extent of his contribution nor his unique qualities. He was involved at all levels of the movement, at the same time combining work at leadership level with activity (sometimes of the most detailed kind) at the grassroots. It was he, for example, who first conceived of the Cost Index now used by the Department of Transport to determine the level of London taxi-fares each year. Either unpaid or at best receiving only expenses, he was utterly selfless in his contribution.
Through it all, Hagger never changed. Whether in discussion with general secretaries at the TUC General Council or talking to a potential recruit on a cab rank, he was the plain-speaking, working-class activist, and treated everyone the same, regardless of their position.
This is not to say that he lacked finesse. A Marxist, he shunned sectarianism and always aimed to build the maximum unity. Although he inevitably became embroiled in the TGWU's internal disputes in the 1980s (during the course of which he was libelled by the Murdoch press) it was he who led the healing process. His gifted approach to tactics and his common sense were valued by many outside our own movement, as evidenced by the tributes paid to him by, for example, fleet taxi proprietors and vehicle manufacturers.
To those within the trade-union movement, Peter Hagger's life and work serve as an inspiration and an example. And it is to be hoped that that life and work will serve to expose, to others, the falsity of the usual caricatures of trade-unionists.
Peter Hagger, trade-unionist: born London 17 April 1944; married (one son, one daughter); died London 26 February 1995.
- 1 Germanwings crash: Police make 'significant discovery' at home of co-pilot Andreas Lubitz
- 2 JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
- 3 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 4 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
- 5 Jeremy Clarkson calls on trolls to leave producer Oisin Tymon alone: 'None of this is his fault'
Germanwings crash: Police make 'significant discovery' at home of co-pilot Andreas Lubitz
Andreas Lubitz: Who is Germanwings co-pilot who 'locked out captain and crashed flight 9525'?
#FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
Russia unveils plans for high speed railway and superhighway to connect Europe and America
Cate Blanchett loses temper during interview: 'That's your f**king question?'
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Germanwings plane crash live: Andreas Guenter Lubitz intentionally crashed flight 9525 into the Alps in act of mass murder and suicide – latest
£19000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity for a ...
£28000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group HR Advisor with an established...
£40 - 50k (DOE) + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a HR Manager / HR Genera...
£24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This role will cover all areas ...