"It's definitely historic that we have the momentum at the same time that we are in difficult pay talks," Burkert said.
He pleaded for understanding from the traveling public saying, "we know that we will of course affect and impact very many travelers."
Burkert noted that the unions had no other choice now apart from going on strike for their demands to be met.
He also articulated the hope that the employers would pick a lesson from the strike and present a serious offer.
With a huge debate ongoing about the right to strike, the boss described it as a "sharp sword" but insisted that the unions were using it responsibly.
He compared the relatively few strike days in Germany with other countries. He noted current strike waves in France were political in nature something completely different in Germany.
The two unions are focusing on pay demands and work contracts he said. He also accused the state-owned rail company Deutsche Bahn of making a "fake offer."
A suitable offer for negotiations is expected by the unions in the coming weeks before talks with the employers scheduled for April 24 and 25, he said.
Rail and air hubs hard hit
The planned strike on Monday aims to bring operations to a standstill in all rail traffic and many airports.
Major hubs in Frankfurt and Munich alongside inland shipping will witness the suspension of normal operations. Major motorways will also be affected by the crippling strike.
According to Deutsche Bahn, there is no way even to run on an emergency timetable for long-distance trains on Monday.
A spokesperson said, "it is no use traveling a short distance with an Intercity or an ICE." This is because the train would have to stop somewhere on its journey since the signal box workers would be on strike, said a company spokesperson in Berlin.