Pandhe is survived by wife Pramila, herself a veteran leader of the CPI(M), and a son.
Expressing grief over his demise, the party Politburo described him as the senior-most leader of the trade union movement in the country whose seven decades of public life began as a student activist. He later rose to become "one of the outstanding leaders of the working class movement of India".
Born on July 11, 1925 at Pune, he joined the Communist Party in 1943. He completed his post-graduation from Pune University from where he earned a doctorate from the Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics.
Pandhe, who was the Secretary of the Sholapur City Committee of the CPI, later took an active part in the Goa liberation struggle.
His singular contribution was to the trade union movement as a Secretary of the AITUC in the 1960s and then as one of the key leaders of the CITU of which he became the General Secretary from 1990 to 1999 and then its President till 2010.
He was elected to the CPI(M) Central Committee at the 10th Congress in 1978 and to the Politburo at the 16th Congress in 1998. He held these positions till his death.