SIX months before the new Westgate Shopping Centre opens its doors, not one global retailer has publicly committed to paying the council's 'Oxford Living Wage'.

Oxford City Council leader Bob Price said said the authority will redouble its efforts to urge recruiters to offer the £9.26 an hour rate from April after top firms including John Lewis admitted they wouldn't be offering as much.

It comes amid reports to the council that top brands in Westgate are 'struggling' to find employees, and social enterprise Aspire is preparing to get employers around the table for a ground-breaking conference addressing the city's recruitment crisis.

Westgate is due to open in October 2017 and create an estimated 3,000 jobs, from cleaners, security and shop assistants to cinema projectionists and mixologists.

A report seen by the council's city executive board this month noted: "Shops and restaurants are reportedly struggling to fill these posts.

"The Oxford Living Wage should become a more widely recognised scheme for employers to sign up to, with increased visibility of the scheme online."

At a meeting in Blackbird Leys in January Edward Dean, community employment manager for joint Westgate owner Land Securities, confirmed that the firm could neither enforce the Oxford Living Wage nor discourage zero-hours contracts among the brands set to take up units at Westgate.

But Oxford City Council leader Bob Price said the council has not yet attempted to push the wage with companies either.

He said: "We aren't yet in a position where Land Securities has given us an absolute, detailed list of every employer that's coming in.

"But part of our policy over the next few months is to see whether we can persuade them in that direction.

"Clearly they will have a competitive market, so they might find it advantageous."

Oxford's living wage is currently set at £8.93 and is expected to rise to £9.26 in April.

The Government's Living Wage, renamed from the National Minimum Wage, offers £7.50 for over 25s.

Meanwhile, charity organisation the Living Wage Foundation claims to calculate the real cost of living, and sets its rate outside London at £8.45.

Of 16 big firms approached by the Oxford Mail for comment only five responded.

John Lewis, which will open a 120,000 sq ft flagship store in Oxford, is to employ about 300 staff and said sales assistants will receive £7.67 to £9.82 per hour.

Both Lush and cinema chain Curzon said they were only committed to paying the current Living Wage Foundation rate of £8.45 per hour outside London.

Curzon saying it was not aware there was an Oxford Living Wage, which aims to provide some balance against the city's very high cost of living.

Lush spokeswoman Stephanie Boyd said: "While we acknowledge that some individual councils recognise their own living wage, and during our employee pay forum have identified certain areas are more expensive than others, our current approach is the same Living Wage to all employees nationwide."

Finally Pret a Manger said it was likely to hire 20 team members on a starting salary of £7.85 an hour, who after 12 weeks' training could receive an extra £1 an hour bonus.

Ed Turner, the council's board member for finance, asset management and public health, admitted: "There is potential to advertise [the OLW] further within Oxford."

The Westgate Oxford Alliance is set to hold a large employment fair on Wednesday, June 21 in the Town Hall to begin recruiting in earnest.

Brendan Hattam, general manager of Westgate Oxford, said: "We are committed to extending opportunities at Westgate Oxford to local people from all parts of the community and to date we have supported a number of local employment fairs in Rosehill and Blackbird Leys as well as Careersfest earlier this year."