Holiday Pay & Shift Work

Hi everyone,

I hope you can give me some advice. Sorry if this is a bit long.

I am currently working for an energy company in London, however my
contract for the first 6 months is with Manpower (for administrative
reasons, I suppose). In my employment I am working a shift pattern of 5
mornings - 4 off - 5 afternoons - 4 off - 5 nights - 7 off.

Here's what my terms and conditions have to say about my holiday
"Your entitlement for this expected 6 month period will be 10 days.
Bearing in mind that you will be working on a shift rota, we ask that
you put in your holiday request giving 2 weeks notice. All ten days
holiday will need to fit around the client's business needs and you
will be responsible for swapping shifts to accommodate your planned
holiday over the Christmas and New Year periods."

Ok, sounds straight forward enough. But actually when I first tried to
put in a request for a week's holiday, I was told that I cannot take
holidays during times that I am scheduled to work. That's right, I can
only take holidays on days that I am off anyway. So I suppose my first
question is: Can they actually do that? -- But be that as it may,
that's not my main problem. After they explained the above to me, I
sent them an email, confirming that I would like to take 2 days of
holidays each month during time I don't work:

"I would like to split my 10 days of holiday as follows:
17./18.08: 2 days
05./06.09: 2 days
05./06.10: 2 days
06./07.11: 2 days
04./05.12: 2 days"

, which was duly acknowledged by them in writing.
I did it this way, because the way I understood my contract was that I
get additional pay for holidays taken, and I thought it'd be nice to
top up my salary. Here's what my contract says about holiday pay:

"Basic Salary
Your salary will be £xxxx per month, based on a Shift Rota (described
over) which averages 33.2 hours per week, [...]. To compensate for
unsociable hours and working shifts (including Sundays and Bank
Holidays), you will also receive a shift premium of £xxxx per week.
This gives a total monthly pay rate of £xxxx, excluding holiday pay,
per calendar month, before deductions."


"Your holiday pay will be based on your basic daily earnings (excluding
overtime) immediately before your holiday. This is calculated to be
approx £74.67 per day, unless you take time off for sickness - in
which case the rate will be lower. Please notify Manpower when you
wish to allocate your holiday days."

Notice how it says "excluding holiday pay" in the first paragraph.

Having received my August pay slip now I realised that I just got my
normal basic salary, the same I received in June and July (months with
no holiday days). I sent them an email about it (thinking it was a
genuine mistake), and received this answer back:

"Dear xxx,
Your position is paid on a "salaried" basis, so you will not
receive additional payment for holidays. Sorry for any

So, now my question is, why go through all the hassle with the holidays
and 2 weeks' notice in the first place, if holidays neither amount to
free time nor to extra pay?

Seriously, I'd be much obliged if someone could tell me if I got it all
wrong, or if they are just trying to be clever with me? I have worked
for Manpower before, and know that they treat their employees with
utter contempt, so I wouldn't be the least surprised if they were
trying to pull a fast one on me here.

Thank you very much for your help.