New Caledonia's mainly Kanak USTKE union has launched a political group called the Workers Party.
The weekend move was expected as it had been announced weeks ago.
The inaugural congress was called to give it a name and to choose its political bureau.
The union plans to contest the municipal election in March.
The union's leader, Gerard Jodar said there was a need for the workers' voice to be heard in the face of what he calls the incredible inequality in the distribution of the territory's wealth.
Mr Jodar says the pro-independence FLNKS movement has become institutionalised and no longer fulfills its role as an opposition.
He says for the USTKE union and party it is not vital what the outcome of the referendum on possible independence from France will be but on what basis the country is to be built.